This is a two part series covering the Helotes Humane Society. In this second part we interviewed the Laschober Family about their fostering experiences with cats and dogs.
All photos in this article are courtesy of the Laschober family!
Helotes News: What motivated your family to take on the obligations as pet foster families?
Laschober Family: Our family loves animals and helping those in need. One day while shopping at Petco I saw the Humane Society setting up for an adoption event and spoke with Sue St.Cyr. She explained how they needed foster families to provide a temporary loving home for their animals. I attended an orientation and shortly after, we got our first foster placement, a black lab mix puppy named Mari. We knew as a family we had the time and love needed to help the animals. Our kids were at a great age to teach them about the fostering process and what it entails. Mari was adopted by a young couple that lives in Austin. We often get updates on their adventures with Mari. We named one of our own dogs Mari in her honor. That first experience taught our family how fostering animals was so rewarding.
Helotes News: Are there or were there any challenges during the pandemic caring for foster pets?
Laschober Family: There haven’t really been any challenges to fostering during the pandemic. Social distancing and mask wearing is required when we take the fosters animals to the Humane Society for their shots. Our last foster dog had a condition called megaesophagus, which caused some feeding challenges. She was with us for 10 months and recently went to Washington where her forever home is spoiling her and giving her the life every dog deserves! Her special needs did not stop them from adopting her, because I was able to explain everything to them and give them her history of what works and what doesn’t work with her.
Helotes News: Is food, medicine and other supplies provided or do you have to cover those expense?
Laschober Family: Helotes Humane Society provides all of those items. They provide a crate, toys, blanket, food, medical supplies etc… In our home we have a routine with our own animals, so I usually just keep our fosters on the same schedule and food as my own because it is easier for me. I know with our recent foster, Stevie, because of her medical needs, she needed to see a special vet to get spayed and needed a chair to sit in to eat when she was young, and HHS provided all of that for her.
Helotes News: How long do you foster a pet, or is this unique to each animal?
Laschober Family: We have been fostering for almost 9 years and have fostered animals till we can find their owner or their forever home. This has taken as short as a few days to as long as 10 months. We have even adopted a few foster dogs ourselves. Each animal has their own situation and unique story so we do what we can for as long as is necessary for that animal. Our family enjoys fostering the animals that may need some extra love and care. We have had animals with mange, ringworm, heartworm, leg amputation, and recently Stevie, our megaesophagus puppy. We have also had fostered pregnant dogs and cats and their young through adoption, as well as orphaned kittens and puppies that needed to be bottle fed.
Helotes News: What are the benefits to the pets and your family by participating in a fostering program?
Laschober Family: By fostering animals in our home and making them a part of our family they get to feel what it is like to live in a home with other pets and kids, and learn a routine of being an indoor pet. When their forever home finds them we are able to tell them what the animal likes and doesn’t like, what we know about their history, what they need more work on etc…. For our family it gives us joy to be able to see that pet blossom and grow while in our home and then go off to their forever home. Over the years my kids have seen lost animals get reunited with their families, sick animals get better, seen momma animals give birth and care for their young, and also seen what happens when an animal is too sick and doesn’t make it. Fostering has taught our family life lessons and together we have learned so much from each of our foster animals. We are also an adoptive home and fostering has helped my kids understand how the system works and how important fostering is not only to animals but to kids as well. Our youngest two kids we adopted while also fostering animals for Helotes Humane Society and it helps them relate to the animals and how they might be feeling.
Helotes News: What advice do you have to give to someone who fosters a pet?
Laschober Family: My advice is to be open minded and understand that many of these pets have had a rough past and may need some time and love before they feel absolutely safe. Be patient and meet the animal where they are at. Your foster may need help with potty training, basic manners, food aggression, leash training etc… You will have some days where you question what you are doing, but those are the days you reach out to other fosters or the Humane Society for support. At times it may seem like a thankless job, but when that animal goes to their forever family, you know it was worth it. You will get attached and fall in love with your foster and that is exactly what each animal needs and deserves!
Helotes News: What advice do you have to give someone with small children at home about fostering a pet?
Laschober Family: Know your limits! There have been many times I want to foster a specific animal, but I know it wouldn’t work with the ages of my kids or my personal pets. My kids have always been around dogs, cats, and other animals so they are never surprised when I bring home another foster. We don’t allow our kids alone with the animals, especially in the beginning, because many times we don’t know the animals history. I feed all my fosters in their crate or away from other animals and kids in case they have food aggression. I do not allow my foster around my personal pets till I know they are dog and cat friendly. My advice is if you choose to foster puppies teach your kids that they have puppy teeth and those hurt when they are teething. When my kids were a certain age we stopped fostering dogs for awhile and fostered other animals such as turtles, birds, and reptiles because they were at the age where they didn’t understand a foster animal may not be used to kids.
Helotes News: What happens if you want to keep your foster pet?
Laschober Family: Many fosters fall in love with an animal and end up adopting them. We call that a “foster fail.” We have adopted two of our fosters, and one from another foster that we fell in love with. We have had neighbors adopt our fosters and have had a few of our animals go all the way to Washington. Whatever happens to our foster whether we adopt them or not, we form a relationship with their forever family so we can get updates.
Helotes News: Any closing thoughts?
Laschober Family: HHS is like a second family to us. Over the years we have formed many relationships with other foster families, volunteers, and adoptive families. We have had the pleasure of fostering lots of different animals and while it is rewarding, it can also be hard. We have lost some sick fosters and that can be tough, but knowing they were loved in their last moments is what makes you continue to take in these animals and do it again and again. I encourage anyone who has thought about it to reach out to HHS to find out more information and take a chance on fostering.