Vital People: Victoria couple foster over 100 animals to help save lives

Vital People: Victoria couple foster over 100 animals to help save lives
WatchThere's a shortage of animal foster homes right now but a Victoria couple that's taken in more than 100 animals is hoping their story will inspire others. Tess van Straaten has this week's Vital People.

For the last seven years, John and Alex Elliott have fostered animals in need.

“It’s busy! There’s a lot of work that goes into it, a lot of cleanup and sleepless nights, but it’s been a lot of fun,” John said.

The Victoria couple has looked after more than 100 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens over the years.

“We have 19 pets in the house right now,” Alex laughed.  “It sounds pretty bad!”

Five are their own — all foster failures.

“A foster failure means you’re supposed to let them get adopted out and then you forget that part and you keep them,” Alex joked.

The rest — including a pregnant cat and a pregnant dog who both recently had their babies at John and Alex’s house — are being fostered for Victoria Humane Society.

“They’ve made such an amazing difference,” said Penny Stone Victoria of the Humane Society. “The problem that people don’t really understand is if we don’t have people like Alex and John stepping up, we can’t take these animals in. These animals would die. There’s nowhere for them to go.”

Rosie, the pregnant dog, was chained up outside and going to be killed if the Victoria Humane Society didn’t take her.

“It’s amazing actually to see where she’s come from, versus where she started,” said Alex. “She wouldn’t go upstairs, go down hallways, get into cars and now she doesn’t think twice. It’s rewarding to see the adults more because they grow more.”

“A lot of the times they come in with very little personality and over time as they gain your trust, it really evolves which is very rewarding,” added John.

For Alex, the most rewarding part of fostering is the lessons it’s teaching their young son.

“It does bring a lot of empathy and understanding of different situations so that’s been really fun to watch his development,” Alex said.

And kitten cuddles and puppy playtime are also a big perk!

“If you’re having a bad day, you can just go in and lay down and have puppies crawling all over you and licking your face,” said John.

With more animals being rescued than ever before, Alex and John hope their story will inspire others to foster for one of the many rescues on Vancouver Island.

“We need more, we need more people who will take on even one or two a year, it just makes such a difference,” Alex said.

If you’re interested in fostering, you can find out more on the Victoria Humane Society website or contact one of the many animal rescues on Vancouver Island.

If you’re looking to adopt an animal, check out our Pet CHEK page.

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Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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