Donna Lewis, foster animal caregiver

CC-BY-2.5

CC-BY-2.5

Rayne Zilch

Donna Lewis does not have an official job title when it comes to her work. She used to work for a rescue group; now she does animal rescue on her own. She is part of a network of many people in the animal rescue community called “lostmydoggie.com.”

Donna also fosters animals by herself. She has multiple tasks a day she must complete in order to satisfy her animals. These include feeding, medicating, grooming, veterinary care, and always making sure there is clean water, warm shelter, clean bedding, and toys. Of course, there is also the never-ending cleaning. 

Currently, I am caring for 6 dogs and 5 cats. Each day I start by feeding and medicating everyone and cleaning up nighttime messes and litter boxes.  Several of the animals are on special diets, and several are on medications for various medical conditions, so I keep track by using charts and timers.  It takes about 2-3 hours in the morning, about another 2 hours mid-day, and another hour or two at night” said Lewis.

Caring with animals every day also means there are many sob stories.

“I was able to help a mother duck by rounding up all of her newborn ducklings who were scattered all over a neighborhood. After a few hours, we were successful and we had the momma and all of the babies in a carrier.  We took them to a park with a lake and bushes where they could take cover.  Unfortunately, one of the ducklings immediately strayed away from his family and went out to the middle of the lake where a seagull saw him, swooped down, and grabbed him.  It was heartbreaking” said Lewis.

She has dedicated most of her spare time to animals, so it is crucial to her that when a person or another family wants to adopt or foster an animal, it is her job to make sure they provide a stable enough environment for the animal to thrive. She explains that there is a very long interview process and lots of informational documents to read and fill out. 

Fostering an animal does not just benefit the animal. It helps the employees at local rescues and shelters keep more space open for other animals that need to be brought in for care. 

“Fostering keeps animals out of shelters, which can be very stressful places. Being fostered in a private home helps animals adapt to home life.  They receive much more attention than being in a shelter, which helps them to overcome fears and to learn what is expected of them. They become more adoptable and are more likely to find a permanent home” Lewis said.

There are so many animals in need of care. On July 4, 2020, there were over 1,000 in need of rescue locally. On days that are not major holidays, there are at least a few hundred that need rescuing.

Lewis encourages more people to foster. According to Lewis, helping innocent animals find their perfect home and helping out rescue employees is very rewarding.

“It’s a great way for people to learn about pet care. They also learn about the importance of spaying and neutering and how many animals are in need of homes” Lewis said.