My foster kitten, Ash died yesterday. My heart hurts. I know some people don't understand my grief. After all, I only knew Ash a week.
Some people might say "It was just a kitten. There are plenty more where that one came from." What they don't understand is that Ash's life mattered to me. I'm proud to foster for an organization where Ash's life mattered to them too. It would been easy for shelter staff to sleep through my phone calls and text messages at 1:00 in the morning, but they answered. They could have told me there was nothing for me to do but instead they authorized me to take him to the emergency vet. They did everything possible for Ash because his life mattered. In the end there was nothing more they could do, but to humanely euthanize him. In that moment they were concerned for me because not only did Ash matter to them but I mattered too.
I'm sure I will hear "I don't know how you foster. I could never do it." Usually, I nod and politely say "I totally understand". But sometimes I want to scream, "How can you not do it? Somewhere out there is a kitten dying alone and unloved because you won't foster it!" Logically, I know not everyone can foster and not everyone should foster. But shelter's across the country are filled to the rafters with kittens and cats during the summer months. They can only help more if they have foster families to support them. Yes, there is a possibility that a kitten in your care could die. They are fragile little beings. Who knows what they could have been exposed to before they reach your care. But more than likely they are going to grow up healthy and happy, ready to find their forever homes.
I foster because sometimes they do die. It hurts but I wouldn't change a thing. I know I've given them the best chance to survive but more importantly they were not alone and they were loved. My heart hurts for Ash but my heart breaks even more for those who died alone and unloved.
All kittens matter...to me.