A family that volunteers together…
As the beating heart of our organization, the fosters at Rescued Pets Movement are the first stop on an animal’s journey to its forever home. By giving these animals shelter, food, care, and love, our dedicated foster volunteers truly make our movement possible.
To shine a light on the incredible work our fosters do, we highlight one volunteer every other month in our “Foster Feature.” Gain insight into their experience fostering with RPM, why they do what they do, and how you can get involved too.
Gary Lenz, Suzanne Kirkpatrick, Danielle Lenz
1. How long have you volunteered with RPM?
Just over 1 year, we started with our first foster just before Hurricane Harvey. His name was Tucker. He was a 5 wk old deaf, great Dane mix.
Our daughter Danielle’s first foster was Nettie. Our current total is about 170+ fosters plus numerous trips to BARC for transport to veterinary clinics and other foster homes across Houston.
2. How did you hear about RPM? Michelle Beccra. We had used her to pet sit and asked her if she knew of any rescues who needed volunteers. She talked to us about RPM, we researched it and the rest is history.
3. What made you want to volunteer with RPM?
We lived in the country on 28 acres. We had two rescue donkeys, 2 horses, 3 dogs and 2 rescue cats. We also worked with the Navasota Animal Shelter. We fostered a pregnant cat who delivered two kittens. Danielle adopted her two kittens. Obviously, we love animals but after moving back to Houston, we could only work with dogs and cats
4. What do you do as a volunteer for RPM?
The three of us foster both dogs and cats.
Danielle is an ICU nurse in the medical center and also works with the county on sexual assault cases. Gary and I are retired so we have more free time. We do RPM to BARC runs, BARC to Alliana, BARC to North Durham and back and BARC to Abbott.
We help at transport every Thursday, along with Danielle, unless we are out of town. We have done laundry, walked dogs and cleaned cat cages. Gary is also a handyman. He has fixed doors on cat condos, replaced light bulbs and fixed the door to the cattery.
5. What has been your favorite memory volunteering with RPM?
Tucker was our first foster from RPM. Laura Birdwell was our first contact with RPM. We must have looked a little flustered when she brought Tucker to us. He was larger than expected and deaf! She told us very nicely that we did not have to take him! But fortunately, we did. He was a handful, but so very sweet and what we thought was going to be a couple of weeks, turned into almost 6 weeks due to Harvey. And a big “Thank You” to Katie Beirne for taking him a couple of weekends to get us through the 6 weeks. We cried when we put him on the transport van, and We cried happy tears when we found out he was adopted in Colorado by his foster family.
6. What’s the best part about volunteering with RPM?
First and foremost is helping to save the lives of all the animals who are rescued from BARC. But we have met many amazing people at RPM. The staff are all incredible. The foster coordinators, the ACTs, Vet techs and the vet are all amazing. They work difficult and long hours but are always there with a smile and an answer to our endless questions. We have also met some amazing volunteers. People who show up every transport day, rain or shine.
7. What’s the most difficult part about volunteering with RPM?
Losing one of our foster animals. On several occasions we have had kittens not thrive. You may never know the reason, but the staff helps you through it.
8. What’s something you wish you would have known before you started volunteering with RPM?
We did not realize how involved we would get with RPM. We thought we were only going to foster animals, but soon discovered that there is so much more to the organization.
9. What would you say to those who are considering volunteering with RPM?
Be prepared for a rollercoaster ride of joy and sorrow. Your fosters will make your laugh, fill your heart with joy, and occasionally break your heart. But in the end, you are saving a life of an animal that can’t save itself.