A temporary home for animals in need provides a lifelong lesson in empathy and compassion.
Jennifer Jones knows the importance of animal fostering. As a former San Diego Humane Society employee responsible for the foster program, she witnessed firsthand the overwhelming need for foster families to provide a loving home and socialization for adoptable animals. When Jones became a stay-at-home mom to daughters Summer, 5, and Hannah, 4, it was only natural for her and husband Ian to fill that home with animals.
“I wanted to expose my children to the need in our community, and show them that not every animal has a home like our pet does,” Jones says. “Through fostering, I’m teaching my kids empathy, providing a good home for animals in need, and helping the animals develop into well-socialized pets for potential adopters.”
Since 2010, the Jones family has fostered 26 animals, including a pair of under-socialized rabbits, a queen cat and her four newborns, two puppies with broken legs, and two kittens with FeLV (feline leukemia virus). Each has joined the pack led by their dog Slider, the family’s 5-year-old “foster failure,” whose cerebral hypoplasia led the Joneses to adopt her at 5 months old. While Jones admits that some foster assignments have been more difficult than others— especially when her daughters have become attached—it’s all worth it when they realize how many more animals they can help. And with the abundance of animals in need in all local shelters, the opportunities to help are endless. “There are so many that come through the system,” Jones says. “I tell my girls, if we keep this one, we won’t be able to help all the others.”
FOR MORE INFO ABOUT FOSTERING AN ANIMAL IN SAN DIEGO, visit sandiegopetsmagazine/resources.