From the Mouths of Foster Parents: Why Foster? –by Art Hoxworth
There are so many reasons to foster. When I talk to various people who are interested in birds and are considering adopting, it’s all I can do to refrain from gushing about fostering.
So why foster?
1. If you are thinking about adopting, it’s a wonderful way to take the time to find the right bird for you and your family. You might think that you want a Macaw, but you foster a Cockatiel and an Amazon and the Cockatiel falls in love with you and you her. What better way to decide if you want to adopt than to have him/her in your home as a foster?
2. MDPR will provide the parrot and cage setup for you to foster. No financial commitment from you is required to get started – just the passion and desire to help.
3. You might think that you don’t know enough and that you have no business fostering. If that’s the case, you can learn so much more about proper care, including diet and enrichment, than you ever will on your own. Between all the members of the MDPR core group you have at least a century of experience to guide you.
4. MDPR is an all-volunteer organization. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s important that any money I contribute to a good cause not be wasted, a problem many non-profits have. Even the director, Michele Wolf, is not paid for the hard work, time and effort she gives to MDPR. It is important to her that MDPR not waste any money in its effort to save parrots and serve the Front Range. Dr. Noel Opitz is our veterinarian and she alone brings decades of experience to the table. She has a passion for these birds that brings me to tears. Yet even though she donates all her time, there are still lab expenses, medicine and other supplies needed for the care of the birds. This is our biggest expense. The rest of the core team and volunteers share this same passion. Wouldn’t it be great to throw your hat into the ring of such an awesome group of people? I feel honored and blessed to be part of the association.
5. When you foster you have a whole network of other volunteers to support you in your new adventure to provide a loving and nurturing home for birds in need. When I came to MDPR as a volunteer foster parent, I had practically no bird/parrot experience. What I did have is compassion and love for these birds who need to find a permanent home. I had a group of people at hand to guide me and make sure that I learned from any mistakes I made.
6. Your objection might be: “I might do something wrong or make a mistake.” Of course you will. I have a list of errors and mistakes longer than both my arms. Our love for parrots goes farther than our lack of knowledge as long as we are willing to learn from our mistakes. Decades ago in the book, In Search of Excellence, the then CEO of Hewlett Packard was quoted as saying that if we are not making at least 10 mistakes a day, then we are not doing enough. That should not be understood as a license to not be careful; it’s just to say that fear (of making a mistake) should not control us. What should drive us is our love and passion to do right by these creatures who need our care and help.
7. Fostering parrots might just open up your heart a wee bit as these birds express their love for you. And they will – trust me on that one. You might even discover your own humanity.
8. We need foster homes. There are birds needing to come into our care who often have to be placed on a waiting list because we simply do not have the room to take them yet. We strive to take birds who can no longer be cared for, or are no longer wanted, and find new loving and nurturing homes for them. It is difficult to do that if they are not in a home where they can stay, or become, socialized. They need the interaction of human companions.
9. TAX ADVANTAGES. Any of your own money you spend in the care of these birds is deductible. MDPR is registered as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It is not just checks or cash you give to the organization that is deductible, but miles you put on your vehicle going to a home inspection or adoption event, money spent on making chop, etc. I’m not an accountant but my understanding is even space that you dedicate in your home to their care might be deductible just as a home office would be if you worked from home. Consult your tax advisor for advice.
I’m sure I could go on and on because I’m just touching the tip of the iceberg here. The core team and volunteers have a wide variety of backgrounds and experience (business, teaching, healthcare, motorcycling, and gosh, you name it). But they all share one passion: a love for parrots and a desire to provide the best care possible, nutritionally and psychologically, and to match them up with human companions that share that goal.
Sounds like an awesome group to be associated with don’t you think? We look forward to meeting and getting to know you.