Foster Spotlight: Valerie Hatfield

I love nature, I work with both plants and animals.  I have had a gardening business for over 25 years and work part-time in a vet clinic. I live in SSF and have since 1986. I am married and have 2 grown sons. Right now I have 2 cats and 2 dogs, and with a 16 year old cat and a 15 year old dog, I see the entire arc of life daily.I have been fostering for about 15 years, 10+ of them with TKR.  I got started when someone brought me a 3 day old kitten which I successfully raised (and kept) and I’ve been doing it ever since.  I love the feeling of purpose it gives me.Toni’s Kitten Rescue is a wonderful group to work with.

There is much support for new fosters and since I have been doing it for so long I can share my knowledge.  Toni is always available to toss ideas around with, and working with ACC takes away the pressure of having to find homes for my foster kittens.  When they are 2 lbs, healthy and 8 weeks they can be returned and adopted from the shelter.  The previous rescue I worked for required me to find my own adopters, and I have run out of friends that need cats!


bottleI specialize in bottle babies.  These are kittens that need to be fed every 3 hours and carefully watched.  With my work, they go where I go.  Often when they begin to eat on their own, they move on to another foster and I get another litter of bottle babies.Foster parents need to be prepared to observe the kittens carefully, with such tiny animals, things can go wrong real fast. They need to be prepared to clean often, it’s amazing how much laundry a litter can generate!

Most importantly, they need to be able to let go.  I see myself as helping for this beginning part of a kitten’s life journey, and then they need to move onto the next phase of their lives.

Important traits a foster parent should have are calmness and patience, along with observation skills.  It’s a wonderful life and I imagine I will do this until the end of mine.