Entering into the apartment of Justin Saragosa and Chris Choyce you’ll most likely hear tiny meows coming from a certain corner.
In the summer of 2018 the young couple was facing increasing rent prices in Portland and decided to move up to central Maine, where Justin is from. When the pandemic hit they were temporarily furloughed. This newfound time inspired them to begin something they’d wanted to do: foster animals! The in-law apartment they’d moved to had a little extra space, an empty corner to be specific. The Kitten Korner was born on Easter Sunday 2020, becoming a temporary home to their first foster kittens.
Over the last two years, The Kitten Korner has provided a home for 70 cats and two dogs with support from the Humane Society Waterville Area. Many animal shelters don’t receive funding from their town or state and rely on donations from local folks.
Fostering animals serves an important role in the community. Instead of an animal growing up in a shelter or becoming a neighborhood stray, fostering provides cats and dogs with a warm, nourishing, and loving home. Most of the costs associated with caring for animals are out of pocket, so the couple set up a Facebook page for the small operation. The Kitten Korner posts photos of the cute creatures, shares animal care tips, and promotes shelter events. Additionally, people from the community have connected with The Kitten Korner when encountering stray animals in their neighborhoods and to donate pet food, litter, toys, or make financial contributions.
While always having tiny bundles of fur roaming your home might sound like fun, Justin and Chris say the last two years have had their ups and downs. To anyone interested in fostering, Chris offers a few words of advice: “Compassion fatigue is a real thing – be sure to give yourself a break now and then.”
Once kittens are old enough for adoption, they are returned to the shelter. They have found it difficult to return animals they have nurtured, yet rewarding to watch them grow. It is also a lesson in understanding the importance of spaying or neutering pets and making sure they don’t get lost or wander off.
The Kitten Korner looks forward to a future where they have an entire room devoted to the care of foster animals. Possibly expanding to “pocket pets” like guinea pigs or rabbits, and working with other local shelters.
For more information about the operation please visit: https://www.facebook.com/thekittenkorner/photos/.
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