Maintaining a rabbit foster home requires the cooperation of every human living in that home. Upkeep is demanding, and schedules get bent. Yet, working for the good of animals can also be good for the people who do the work. My daughter is my closest woman friend. But more than just a friend, she is a “soul mate” that I might not have expected an adopted daughter to be. We share something much more important than common genes. We share a cause.

It wasn’t always like that, however. When our son was in college, our teenage daughter at home challenged us over clothes, curfews, homework, and rules in general. Then something happened. My husband and I rescued four rabbits from the animal shelter–our first fosters.

I am certain that nothing brings a family together more than caring for animals in need. Emotional involvement can teach. One doesn’t inherit compassion, kindness, or awareness of other’s needs. These things are learned. Everyone who learns them is a better human, and young humans are capable of learning their lessons well. It was my daughter who convinced me to rescue our first paraplegic rabbit.

Fostering is not for everyone. It is a commitment that takes planning, adoption strategies for finding good homes, and willingness to care for the rescued animals. But if you have very lucky children, who live in a home with such commitment, these children are blessed with self esteem–from knowing that they have made a difference.

The child who accompanies you to the shelter and participates in the rescue can go to bed at night saying, “I saved three lives today.” Can you think of a better thing for mothers/fathers and sons/ daughters to do together?

Marinell Harriman

House Rabbit Journal Volume III, Number 4, Winter 1995