March 4th
Basil’s Foster Journey To Happiness

Animal foster parents provide love, care and stability to rescued animals before being placed in their forever homes. It takes an extraordinary person to care for an animal as a foster parent, and more so when it’s an animal with medical needs. And these exceptional foster parents are hard to come by! Without our volunteer foster parents, it would be next to impossible to provide loving homes for our special needs animals.

The Newport Family is one such exceptional volunteer foster family. Today, a year ago, Denise, Colin and Sarah decided they wanted to provide our special needs pup Basil with a loving foster home.

Who is Basil?

On February 7 last year, Basil’s mom, Adora, came to us through our lifesaving dog transfer program. She gave birth to five beautiful puppies - Basil, Pesto, Moss, Poppy and Cedar. All the puppies were doing well. Basil was a happy pup, running around the house, but he would often bump into things or lose balance. Soon Basil’s foster mom noticed tremors in his back end (at around nine weeks of age).

Our veterinary team referred Basil to the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) for a neurology consult. The neurologist at the OVC diagnosed Basil with cerebellar disease, a neurological condition that could significantly shorten his life span. The cerebellum is the part of the brain responsible for fine motor skills, balance and voluntary movements. Affected animals can display signs like uncoordinated walking or tremors when trying to do something involved, such as play with a toy or drink from a water bowl.

Foster Hospice

In collaboration with the OVC, our team talked about all of the options available to Basil, and came up with a ‘foster hospice’ arrangement or as some people know it as ‘fospice’. His quality of life was good at this time, so Basil remained with his foster mom while we continued to monitor his condition. While we were concerned Basil’s condition could progress quickly, he appeared to be stable when reassessed a number of months later. It was celebrated as good news and potentially changed Basil's overall prognosis.

In January this year, Basil was reassessed by the Neurology Service at the OVC. It was determined that Basil’s condition was likely less dire than initially suspected. He has a good chance to have years of life ahead as a beloved family member. He may not live a normal life, but his quality of life would be good.

Basil beats all odds!

This furball turned one today! He is a happy-go-lucky guy who loves to run around and play with his toys. Basil’s foster family cared for him for 11 months and fell in love with him. Following several discussions with our veterinary team regarding Basil’s health and future, the Newport family adopted Basil on February 10th this year.

“It’s hard to believe that this young boy fought his way through. Over the past year, we had grown to love him and decided that this would be his forever home, said Denise. “My family and I agree that he’s the best thing that has happened to us. He has been good for our mental and physical health, especially through the pandemic.”

Basil is adventurous and loves to go on walks and explore new areas. He especially loves to look for sticks that he can bring home. Playtime for Basil is fetching his beloved sticks. A sucker for belly rubs, he would do anything for carrots – his favourite food! “Basil has also claimed our couch as his throne,” Denise added. “We had no plans to own a dog, but sometimes the dog chooses you.”

Why Foster?

We truly appreciate the Newport family for opening their home to animals in urgent need of medical care. Their relentless dedication towards the animals they foster is exceptional. We believe the family's love and care played a big part in how good Basil is doing now!

The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth relies on its volunteer foster caregivers to provide a temporary home to our animals while they wait to find their forever home. It’s even more crucial to have high-needs medical fosters. There are often animals who need a little extra love, attention and intensive care. Getting them the help they need can be life-changing. It can put an animal on the path of a healthy, loving life.

If you are looking for a rewarding experience, consider becoming a foster volunteer. Visit our website and learn how you could change an animal’s life by becoming a foster parent.