Fostering Part II ~ by Pat Lang

That sure is one funny looking kitten!  Probably Toni Welch-Hiner’s first reaction when she met Owen the lamb, her new foster.  A new experience for this long-term foster family, but one that Toni’s daughter was eager for; she had always wanted some sheep and this seemed like a relatively “easy” way to get their fix. But Owen was a steep learning curve, although help from neighbors who had sheep made things a bit easier.  Owen arrived at 1week old and only 6 pounds.

For his first two weeks in foster, Owen didn’t want to eat (they often had to pry his mouth open to get him to nurse) and there was lots of experimentation with different types of bottles.  They finally landed on human baby bottles (well, Owen did come to think of himself as a baby!) The spare room/garage was turned into Owen’s playpen, covered in puppy pads and outfitted with a large dog crate and a Snuggle Safe for warmth. Puppy pads aside, Toni became a champion mopper!  In addition to figuring out what kind of formula Owen needed, they had to figure out how to hang his bottles so that it was easy for him to nurse, and bring in hay and a salt lick (realized they needed this after he started eating dirt). For exercise Owen got the use of the dog run. Sheep-owning neighbors were a big help as was Dr. Dotti of Cotati Large Animal Hospital.

Owen turned out to be a very personable little critter, stubborn and persistent but very people-oriented so it was important to find a family who would love and keep Owen as a pet.  He’s happily ensconced in his new home, thanks for Toni’s commitment to fostering.  Another life saved!
And did you know that Toni was also Tiny Peggy’s foster mom and now permanent mom after a foster-fail?!

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