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Foster Parent Highlight: Paige Devine

Paige Devine is an active foster parent here at IndyHumane. Over the years Paige has opened more than just her home to animals in need, but also the entirety of her heart. We were inspired greatly by Paige’s experience in our foster care department and want to share her story. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming an IndyHumane foster parent, please click here to learn more.

Hold your fur babies close and enjoy her heartwarming journey as told by Paige herself:

“I have always loved animals from a very young age and I often thought of making it a part of my career however, I took a different path. All of our animals growing up were strays we took in and nursed back to health, we lived behind a field and wooded area. We even had a pregnant
cat run into our house, go into my parent’s closet and give birth to a litter of kittens! To this day we don’t know how that momma cat knew where to go or that our house was a safe place but it was a life changing experience as we watched the litter of three grow and develop. My family often joked that there was a sign over our house that said “cats welcome”.

When I was in nursing school, I worked in the skills lab with another student who was a foster parent with IndyHumane. As she was training me, I learned more and more about the program and fell in love. I have always thought about fostering but never put it into fruition. To this day,
I am forever grateful to Leah for shining light on a program that changed my life for the better!

However, the ultimate experience that turned me toward fostering was when our vet called and asked if I wanted to take care of an orphaned kitten who was three days old needing bottle feeding. That moment changed my world and I decided I wanted to continue to provide love, care and a home to those in need.

My first fostering experience was with three little four week old kittens who needed fostering until they were old enough for spay/neuter surgery and adoption. Kittens have to be 8 weeks old and of a certain weight before they can undergo the “adoption prep process” as I call it. My niece and nephew were visiting my mom and I knew they would love the kittens so I brought along the little babies to my mom’s house. My mom about had a heart attack when she saw me walk in with three kittens. She thought I adopted them!

However, my first foster experience took a sad turn when one of my babies contracted panleukopenia. It is a virus that is contracted through the environment and fatal to young kittens as they do not have the reserves to fight it off. Typically, the kitten will pass away within a couple of days. Luckily, there is a vaccine but kittens cannot receive it until they are of a certain age. IndyHumane has recently started a program that provides supportive therapy in the young kitten population and I have heard of at least one success story! Unfortunately, my little one was too far gone and I held her in my arms as she passed at the shelter.

I cried the whole way home but then I realized, I provided that kitten with love, snuggles and a warm home that she would otherwise not received. Even a few moments of love and protection can be worth the world! My other two grew up to be well adjusted, playful kittens who were adopted the same day they were available for adoption!

The amount of funny and interesting stories I have with my foster animals could fill an entire book! I really need to write down the stories as a keepsake. All the positive and funny moments with my fosters by far outweigh the sad. I have found that fostering adoptable animals gives them the confidence and love they need/desire to be adopted. Based on my experience, fostered animals get adopted quicker, at least mine have been. You get to see their behavior in the home versus in the shelter, which is often different and for the better. Then you can relay their true personality to the shelter which in turn, helps the staff find the perfect match for potential adopters.

Fostering also gives your animal exposure, especially on social media, when you post about your foster. Recently, I fostered a dog who was anxious in the shelter and scared of people. Her tail was always between her legs. One day in my home and she was wagging her tail for the first time! Months of work with the staff at the shelter couldn’t do what being in a home environment could. Within a week she was sleeping in my lap, smiling, running around and playing with toys. Three weeks later, my little Brynn had built the confidence and trust she needed to find the perfect adopter who happened to be one of my friends who saw my posts about her on social media!

Fostering not only heals deep wounds, both physical and emotional, of the animal but the foster parent. Something about fostering heals the soul…well my soul at least. I have been a foster parent with IndyHumane for 4 years and have fostered 42 animals! This number is comprised of bottle baby kittens, mothers with litter of baby kittens, weaned kittens, weaned puppies and two adult dogs. All of my foster animals have been adopted within the first few days of being available for adoption if not on the same day!

My foster babies are my pets and I give them my full attention, so I don’t currently have any other pets. However, my mom adopted one of my foster babies. A petite kitten named Princess who was too small to go for surgery with her brothers and stayed with me for a couple more
weeks. We fell completely in love with her during that extra one on one time and decided she would be a great addition to the family! I wanted my mom to have a fur baby to keep her company as my dad had passed away a few years earlier. Princess sleeps on my dad’s “side of
the bed” every night.

There are too many reasons why I love animals to begin to list! The biggest reason is that animals live in the moment and
no matter what has happened to them in the past, they are able to forgive and give you all their love. No matter the day you had, animals are there to greet you with unconditional love! They give you moments to get lost in their happiness, in play, in snuggles and those problems or
situations that were bothering you earlier can slip away. Humans have a lot to learn from animals. We may teach them tricks but they teach us how live a more grounded life!

If you are considering fostering, go for it! You can foster when you want and how many you want. A foster plea is emailed every week. All you have to do is provide a home, the foster team will provide the rest. Food, toys, bedding, needed accessories are all available to you. Foster
animals make your heart grow ten times its size. They fill your life with love, snuggles, funny antics, many pictures and videos, and a house full of fur! All the positives outweigh the sad parts.

I always say that my foster animals give me more than I could ever give in return. Plus, you are giving an animal the best possible chance to a new life that they most greatly deserve! It is a selfless deed that yes, may make you cry when you drop off your little foster babies for
adoption, but it is worth every moment!”