Foster Story: Andy and Stella

About a year ago I started fostering. It started with a cat that was going to be sent to a high-kill facility because she “didn’t get along with other cats.” She turned out to be fine with my 5 cats (and 3 dogs) and ended up being adopted by a fellow goalie and his family. My husband was wary of me fostering as my Galgo, Cedric, was supposed to be a foster (that lasted for about 4 hours).

I started fostering to help our local Animal Control which recently went to being a no-kill shelter, which overjoyed me. In Michigan there were so many no-kill rescue efforts I took it for granted. Come to find out it’s a relatively new concept in Iowa. I am so glad it is being embraced.

Anyway, the call went out for fosters with bottle-baby experience. Well, being a former vet tech of 10 years, I have an excess of hand feeding little ones (including wildlife). So, of course, I said I could help. I got two little ones at different times. Fortunately the rescue network found some nursing mothers to place the kittens with after about a day for each. Kittens do better with feline mothers (antibodies, social skills, etc) so it is best to place them with nursing moms if possible.

The first to show up was Andy (so named because our Waterloo Blackhawks junior hockey team won the Anderson Cup about the time he showed up).



He stayed about 2 days and did really well. He looked to be about 10 days old (rough estimate) as his eyes were open.

andy bob

Our adult cats either ignored him or were really interested. Sepia, my black cat, was a rescue from Detroit that had a litter of kittens with her when she was brought into rescue. She is a good mother and will help me out with the babies (grooming, snuggling). Bob, our youngest cat (orange male) also seems to love kittens. Not so much grooming but wanting to see what they’re doing. Both were really good about watching over little Andy in his carrier and being concerned when he would cry (bottle babies get moved around the house with me in carriers with heating pads underneath so I can keep a close eye on them, but it’s great to have the cats double checking him for me!)

Kitten in the hoodie selfie

Kitten in the hoodie selfie

Of course, I snuggled with him too. Andy really liked hoodies…

After Andy, Stella was picked up by animal control after being found in a baseball field. She was even tinier. Eyes not open, but wow, she was a fighter. The little thing screamed the entire way home when I picked her up. Hence the name “Stella” from a Streetcar Named Desire. All I could think was “STTTELLLLAAA!” She was obviously female because of her torti coloring (males can be calico or torti but that would mean they are XXY rather than XY. The genetics related to torti and calico coloring is related to the XX genotype).



Cute little Stella and Andy went to a rescue in Iowa with a nursing mom to care for them until they were weaned. Last I heard both were adopted! Yay for fostering and no kill rescues!

George the Pelican

I have volunteered for a raptor rescue for about 6 months or so now. I started off feeding and caring for our “display” birds, or birds that live in outdoor enclosures that cannot be released because they were imprinted or injured. I then started helping out in the clinic, which houses injured birds that need medical treatment. Most of the clinic birds are released into the wild. I am now trained on clinic duty, so for one weekend a month I get to take care of the outside birds, treat the indoor clinic birds, and take care of and assess any injured birds that come in. Last weekend was my weekend caretaker training. As I as driving down I got a call from the clinic assistant director. He mentioned he would be a few minutes late as he had to get fish for “the pelican.” Huh. Ok. we do get waterfowl in addition to raptors, but a pelican? Really?

Well, the pelican ended up being a juvenile pelican that had fallen out of his nest. Some people had fed it fish to help him out, and he became imprinted  (he thought the humans were his parents). Once imprinted a bird cannot be released into the wild. George will be looking for placement in a zoo or similar facility as we aren’t set up for pelicans long term. He is adorable and very social. It was amazing to watch him eat his fish! He’ll be a big hit wherever he goes.

Here are a few pictures. His wing span is already bigger than a bald eagle’s!

george 3 george 2 george