August 10th, 2022
By Tara Lenehan, RedRover Education Coordinator
Before Alice and her family began fostering kittens through the Marlboro County Humane Society, in South Carolina, they fostered orphan kittens they found through posts on Facebook. Alice’s daughter Alivia was just shy of four years old and loved to imagine herself as the kittens’ vet when the family would bring them in for checkups. But over time, the vet bills started to add up, and they were struggling to find adoptable homes for the kittens. That’s when they joined the kitten fostering program through Marlboro County Humane Society – and met Devon Krusko, RedRover’s Field Services and Community Programs Manager.
Devon noticed how excited Alice’s children – Drew and Alivia – were about helping animals, so she suggested they join RedRover’s Junior Advisory Board, a group for kids who are passionate about making a difference for people and animals.
The Smiths have fostered tiny kittens, mama cats, pregnant strays, and feral cats. At one point, they were caring for 14 kittens at home! With that many animals comes much responsibility. And while the family has had some great successes, they’ve also had to deal with disappointment and loss.
“Fostering is tough on our kids – there are emotional days, where they want to keep them as our own pet,” says Alice. “We fall in love with so many and some we become very attached to. There are usually lots of happy tears on transport day. We’re never ready for goodbyes, but we know they are going to great rescues and will have wonderful lives.”
Even though fostering can be challenging, Alice believes that “fostering is teaching our children compassion, to be a voice for ones that can’t speak, and to be responsible.”
Not only are Alice’s children learning about the resilience required to foster animals in need, they also feel a sense of accomplishment when they find a forever home for one of the kittens. Sometimes they even get to surprise children with their first pets!
“Having such an important job preparing a kitten for another child’s home has given a sense of pride and joy,” says Alice. The family has made new friends through fostering kittens – they especially love receiving updates on the cats they had fostered.
“Alivia has made a friendship with a child at their school because they adopted the sibling of Po, our ‘foster fail.’ They share kitten stories about how much they are alike.”
The Smith family calls their foster kittens their “therapy sessions.”
“When we’ve had bad days we can just go snuggle a baby and it automatically puts a smile on our faces.”
Alice, Alivia, and Drew continue to foster through Marlboro Humane and encourage other children to help animals in their community through RedRover programs, including the Junior Advisory Board.
Learn more about ways to help animals in your community at RedRover.org/waystohelp.