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Ellen Chen with Foster Cats

Foster Feature: Ellen Chen

Turning a life-long love of pets into volunteer engagement – and even marriage!

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.

Foster Volunteer: Ellen Chen

Position: Foster Volunteer

Time Fostering with RPM: Since December 2015

Rescued Pets Movement: How did you hear about RPM?

Ellen Chen: From a friend. When I expressed interest in fostering animals, she told me she had briefly fostered for RPM and that it was such a rewarding experience. Also, a co-worker mentioned RPM to me because one of his friends had fostered for RPM.

What made you want to foster for RPM?

EC: I have always been a huge animal lover. Even as a young child, I was constantly begging my parents for guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, cats, dogs, etc. My husband and I have two cats: we adopted the first for one of my birthdays, and he adopted the second one as part of his marriage proposal!

I very much want to expand our furry family, but my two cats are quite spoiled and content with just one another, so I figured fostering would somewhat satisfy my desire to adopt more animals, but in a less permanent way. During the home-buying process, I explicitly mentioned to my husband that I couldn’t wait to own a home so that we could finally start fostering animals – which he (thankfully) agreed to!

I originally started fostering puppies for RPM during a brief period of unemployment, but then switched over to kittens and cats once I had a regular 40-hours-a-week job at an office away from home. While I still foster puppies once a year or so, felines are my true animal love. I am a total crazy cat lady, and everyone in my life is well aware of my cat obsession!

What all goes into being a foster?

EC: For me, it’s a deep commitment to these animals and their welfare, and of course, a love of animals! I currently work from home, and my job allows me a bit of flexibility, so I’m able to foster more high maintenance or sick animals.

Once a kitten enters my home, it essentially becomes “mine,” in that I care for it as if it were mine to keep. Therefore, I try to be very attentive and observant when it comes to health and sociability of the animal. I try to do everything possible to ensure the kitten receives the best care (courtesy of RPM’s amazing vet staff!) and take mini-breaks throughout the day to socialize and cuddle with the kittens.

I ask the vet staff, foster coordinators, and other foster volunteers a fair amount of questions, which I think is important. You can never know too much, and every new foster animal presents an opportunity to “foster better” and learn more than with the previous one.

How long do you have to commit to being a foster?

EC: It varies depending on the age and health of the animals. I’ve had very short-term fosters, requiring only a night or two stay with me, and then I’ve had kittens for two or more months. Thankfully, RPM is great with coordinating re-fosters should I need to leave town or something personal comes up.

What is your favorite part about fostering for RPM?

EC: Kitten cuddles! I seriously cannot get enough of kitten cuddles. It is truly therapeutic for me during the work day to take kitten cuddle breaks every so often to decompress and distress. It’s an inexplicably warm happy feeling to have a kitten or cat lying in your lap or on your chest and bask in their content rhythmic purring. I seriously cannot get enough of it!

Also, adoption updates! Whenever I do receive news or see updates that former foster kitten of mine has found their forever home, I always cheer and have a mini-celebration and immediately text my husband (and my friends and other foster volunteers) about the awesome news! It’s extremely rewarding to see the fruits of your labor result in a happy ending.

What has been your favorite memory fostering for RPM?

EC: There have been so many of them! Would it be cheesy and cliché to say all of the long-lasting meaningful friendships I’ve made? Because that is absolutely the case! It’s just been so exciting and reassuring for me to connect and interact with people whom feel as passionately about animal rescue and fostering as I do. Rescue and fostering can sometimes be pretty harrowing, so active awareness that you’re not alone in the “struggle” has been incredibly encouraging to me.

Also, the charity events are pretty memorable and fun! I always have a blast interacting with RPM people in a more social setting!

What’s something you wish you would have known before you started fostering for RPM?

EC: I wish I had been more knowledgeable about all the various viruses, bacteria, and ailments that can affect the animals we rescue. Because there are a lot of them, and they all have very specific treatment approaches and plans. However, thankfully RPM vet staff and other foster volunteers have been very resourceful in providing the information I need to undertake the challenges associated with these illnesses.

What has been the most difficult part about fostering for RPM?

EC: Occasionally, saying goodbye can be quite bittersweet, especially with the neglected animals that came to me with severe health issues. I usually end up keeping these animals for a more extended period to nurse them back to health, and of course, I become incredibly attached to them. It’s impossible not to when I’m up all hours of the night caring for them and stressing myself out over whether they’ll make it!

Also, on rare occasion, I have had very sick kittens pass away and those moments have been especially painful for me. However, it’s never been a deterrent to continue fostering. It is gratifying to know that these vulnerable babies wouldn’t have had a chance otherwise, and I did my best (and then some) to maximize their chances at survival toward the ultimate goal of a finding a loving forever family.

Interested in learning more about becoming a Foster Volunteer for RPM, or ready to apply to become a foster? Head over to our Foster page to learn more, and fill out the foster application here.

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Rescued Pets Movement Forst

How Do I Become a Foster with RPM?

Join our Foster Network

We say it all the time, but our foster volunteers truly are the heart of Rescued Pets Movement. While we could save every single animal from local shelters, our work would be impossible without homes where they could stay.

As the first stop on any pet’s journey to its forever home, our foster volunteers play a crucial role in the rehabilitation of the animals we rescue. By providing temporary shelter, food, care, and (most importantly) love, our fosters must give a lot, and they do so willingly.

If you love animals and can offer the shelter and care these pets need, we always want to grow our network of fosters so we can do the work that matters – getting these homeless pets out of shelters and one step closer to their forever homes.

How Foster Care Works

When you decide to become a foster, RPM will provide you with an estimated length of time the pet will be staying with you. This length of time can vary. It may be as short as one night, or as long as two weeks. If you’re fostering a young puppy, the time may fall to the longer end, because our protocol is to hold puppies for a minimum of 10 days before delivering them to their new loving families

A typical foster process looks like this:

  1. Typically, your foster animal will come to you from the Houston City Pound (BARC) or another local shelter.
  2. While the shelters do provide vet-care in-house, it’s always possible your foster animal may need to visit RPM’s veterinarian. In this case, we provide a hotline number you can use should your foster need additional vet care.
  3. Once your foster is in good shape, you simply need to care for and love your foster for the agreed-upon length of time.
  4. On transport day, our volunteers load up our passenger vans with pets, and our drivers transport the animals to one of our reputable rescue partners in areas that have a need for adoptable pets.

One thing we want to reiterate: Fostering is temporary. We work diligently to ensure these animals only stay in your home for the original duration requested. Why? Because we want to get them to their final destination as soon as they’re ready to be adopted. We’re happy to work with you around your schedule, as every little bit helps, even if it’s just one night.

How to Apply to Become a Foster Volunteer

Think you’ve got what it takes to become a foster with RPM? All you need to do is take a few minutes to fill out our foster agreement. We’ll need a few things from you, including:

  • Your contact information
  • The kinds of pets you’re interested in fostering
  • A little bit of information about any current pets you have
  • Any foster experience you may have
  • Whether there are any children in your home
  • How you plan to house and care for your fosters

Once we receive your foster agreement, we’ll contact you with any questions we may have, as well as any other relevant information you may need.

Other Ways to Help RPM

Want to give back to RPM, but don’t have the time, space, or living situation to offer yourself up as a foster? We are always in need of donations. All funds we receive from donors go toward the life-saving work we do. From vet care and medication to food and toys, every bit helps improve the lives of these animals.

To learn more about why your donations matter and how you can help Rescued Pets Movement achieve our mission, visit our Donations Page.

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Foster Feature: Laurann Claridge

Turning her passion for pets into active involvement

The heart of our organization, RPM’s fosters are the first stop on that animal’s journey to their forever home. Giving these animals shelter, food, care, and love, the love and dedication our foster volunteers put in to make our movement possible.

To shine a light on the incredible work our fosters do, we will be highlighting 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.

Foster Volunteer: Laurann Claridge

Position: Foster Volunteer

Time fostering with RPM: 6 Months

Rescued Pets Movement: How did you hear about RPM?

Laurann Claridge: Through the wonderful efforts of volunteer Jodie Eisenhardt. She’s been a friend of mine for many years, and knowing her long history working on behalf of homeless animals, I knew when she was excited about an organization it was worth knowing more about.

What made you want to foster for RPM?

LC: I’m single and travel for my career throughout the year and know that having my own pet can be a challenge. So being able to pick up and foster a dog for a week or two weeks when I’m home and can devote time and attention to spoiling a pet, who might have been neglected, brings me so much happiness! Plus, RPM makes it so easy: giving you the right food they need, loaning you a crate and any toys, meds, or supplies you might need to make the transition from BARC to your temporary home a lot easier.

What all goes into being a foster?

LC: Like a lot of people, I have the sort of job where I can take a foster to work so that’s incredibly helpful because you can socialize a pet to new surroundings and introduce them to several different ‘real life’ scenarios.

LC: While a lot of people I meet and introduce to my foster dog confess they don’t think they could do it because they’d invariably get attached, that’s exactly why I do it. Because I want to be a pup’s best champion. I know it’s my job to give them lots of love and attention for that short time in their life they’re with me, and later when they must leave, I have to let RPM and their sister organizations do what they do best and find each a forever home.

I know the biggest thing I can do for them is to spoil them with attention and comfort. Take them to the dog park, to work, out in your respective neighborhoods, so they get comfortable in all kinds of arenas.

But make no mistake: I fill out the foster report cards in detail and do my best to reach out to the fosters in Colorado to let them know everything I’ve learned about my foster pet to make their eventual adoption an easier, more transparent experience.”

What is your favorite part about fostering for RPM?

LC: Without a doubt, it’s the unconditional love and appreciation you feel from a dog who finds refuge at your home. They know they’re being loved by someone who wants the best for them. It’s amazing to me how quickly they can acclimate to new surroundings and the new people entering their life.

What has been your favorite memory fostering for RPM?

LC: So many. I think the transformations. For example, seeing a frightened pup who just wants out of BARC so badly and then fast forward a few days and they’re clean, happy, sleeping, and eating well. The relief they feel is something you can sense, too.

What’s something you wish you would have known before you started fostering for RPM?

LC: How easy they make it for you. From a vet and vet techs at the ready to help if a situation arises to the community of people anxious to lend their support.

What has been the most difficult part about fostering for RPM?

LC: Of course, transport days. I cry like a baby all the way home and think about them for many days and weeks, praying they’ll be okay.

Interested in learning more about fostering for RPM, or ready to apply to become a foster? Head over to our Foster page to learn more and fill out the foster application here.

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Hurricane Harvey: How you can help

Hurricane Harvey: How to Help


Rescued Pets Movement is a 501(c)3 charity and is undertaking numerous initiatives in response to the Hurricane Harvey crisis. We serve as the biggest rescue partner for the city shelter (BARC) and, since our founding in 2013, have provided more than 23,000 death-row animals a second chance via temporary fosters, rehabilitation, and transport to forever homes in communities throughout the country and Canada where there is a demand for adoptable pets. Both the city and county shelters will be inundated moving forward, as Houston already experienced an overwhelming number of stray/abandoned animals.

Monetary funds are needed for us to maintain and expand transports with partnerships currently in formation. From vetting costs for each animal to actual hard transportation costs (vans, fuel, maintenance, etc.), additional funds are critical to our being able to answer the call. For those who prefer to donate items, we also have an Amazon list of items that we desperately need.

How to Help

Donate Monetary Funds Here

View our Amazon Wish List Here

Sign up to be a Temporary Foster Here

We are also opening our boarding facility and clinic at The Jack C. Alexander Building to care for pets displaced by Harvey, and we need volunteers!  To volunteer, please go to

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The Merry Month of May

The Merry Month of May

May was another great month for the dogs and cats who moved from Houston to their forever homes thanks to Rescued Pets Movement’s teamwork with BARC and our Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Minnesota partners. Here are the dogs and cats who left on the first transport of the month, with the help of an enthusiastic team of volunteers from Nexen Energy.

1. Rigby 2. Coralee 3. Bandit 4. Haddie 5. Miranda 6. Ozzy 7. Cassidy 8. Mia 9. Lady 10. Butters 11. Peanut 12. Reese 13. Ziva 14. McGee 15. DiNozzo 16. Faith 17. Ellis 18. Max 19. Paco 20. Ginger 21. Anya 22. Orlena 23. Cream and Tots 24. Mitzi 25. Lorelei 26. Sonny 27. Rocko 28. Faye 29. Suzanne 30. Aster 31. Juniper 32. Petunia 33. Leaf 34. Fluffy 25. David 36. Daniela 37. Omar 38. Daria 39. Aubrie 40. Wilda 41. Wanda 42. Wincy 43. Kiara 44. Gordy 45. Churchill
1. Alexander 2. Twix 3. Karbo 4. Darcy 5. Crimson 6. Hazel 7. Sephora 8. Marlene 9. Capstone 10. Abe 11. Doris 12. Wallace 13. Bobby 14. Sajak 15. Cass 16. Bambi 17. Koda 18. Fizzy 19. Hannah 20. Holt 21. Chilli 22. Stormy 23. Mia and her kittens 24. Tris 25. Della 26. Tenley and her kittens Teignn, Tipper Too, Tanner, Toro, and Tara 27. Dutchess Gray and her kittens 28. Sesi 29. Precious and her kittens 30. Lil Buddy 31. Peyton and Owen 32. Brenda 33. Bianca 34. Bristol 35. Bridgette 36. Becky 37. Peter and Paul 38. Destiny 39. Kari 40 Kitty 41. Griffin, Gremlin, and Sweet Pea

The next week our wonderful Wisconsin rescue partner joined us to give these lucky dogs a ride.

1. Don Juan 2. Elsa 3. Kachina 4. Kachina’s puppies Kewpie, Karma, Kendo, Kesla, Kiki, Kerrie, Kemper, Kudzu, and Keefer 5. Roxy 6. Sochi 7. Kaylee 8. Rocko 9. Ario 10 and 11. The R pups Rachel, Raelynn, Reese, Rex, Riley, Rodney, Rookie, Rose, Ross, Ryan, Roy, and Rita

These are the dogs and cats who traveled to Colorado that same day.

1. Buddy 2. Carl 3. Mizzou 4. Cal 5. Teddy 6. Bebe 7. Sadie 8. Rocky Road, Moonpie, and King Cake 9. Taaza 10. Scooter 11. Libby 12. Marilyn 13. Grammy and Oscar 14. Lyla 15. Leanne 16. Lois 17. Larry 18. Louie 19. Daisy 20. Spark 21. Truffles 22. Rose Mary 23. Tippy 24. Spunky 25. Lady Bug 26. Little Girl 27. Goldie 28. Ruben 29. Kimber 30. Tribi 31. Randi 32. Felix and Oscar 33. Cinder 34. Rafferty 35. Gidgit 36. Miss Scruffi 37. Ash 38. Charlize 39. Velvet 40. Dennis 41. Douglas 42. Doug 43. Everest 44. Ann 45. Hayleigh
1. Jazz 2. Patches 3. Paxton 4. Laura 5. Sandy 6. Brenna 7. Tulip and Janet 8. Mia 9. Baby Poof 10. Bonozo 11. Ringo 12. Solace 13. Briana 14. Little Debbi and Apple Strudel 15. Duchess, Countess, and Empress 16. Maxine 17. Legacy 18. Praline 19. Hazel, Henry, and Helle 20. Sandra 21. Blue 22. Chiquita 23. Mavis 24. Penn 25. Bama 26. Vandy 27. Susan and Stanley 28. Brown Betty 29. Banana Split 30. Tigger 31. Harry 32. Emilio 33. Ember 34. Ernie 35. Eclipse 36. Henrietta 37. Carina 38. Hailey 39. Miles
1. Mother 2. Cottontail 3. Flopsy 4. Andra 5. Chance 6. Brownie 7. Blanca 8. Cupcake 9. Remi 10. Colt 11. Effie 12, 13, and 14. Effie’s puppies Esther, Emily Sue, Ellie, Emmet, Emo, Edie, and Erin 15. Bruno 16. Gretchen 17. Atticus 18. Hero 19. Cherilyn 20 and 21. Mary’s kittens 22. Little Nugget, Spirit, Miley, Minnie, and Melanie 23. Peyton and her kittens 24. Lovey 25. Night Fury and the Dragon kittens 26. Ophelia 27. Judy

Midway between two transports, Mia and her pups Madonna, Marco, Mikey, Mandy, Maurice, Marriane, Margie, and Monty were given a special ride to a rescue partner in Minnesota.

The third week of June our friends from Nexen Energy returned to help send these dogs and cats on their merry way to their forever homes.

1. Dulce 2. Melissa 3. Jenny 4. Jasper 5. Ruthie 6. Jane 7. Lynnie 8. Balto 9. Natasha and Natty 10. Jerrold 11. Wishbone 12. Wilton 13. Togo 14. Kipper 15. Penny 16. Nicola 17. Amy 18. Neelam 19. Nafeesa 20. Stevie 21. Eloise 22. Sammie 23. Nancy and Noah 24. Maureen and Karen 25. Keith and Smitty 26. Foxy 27. Florence 28. Dolph Tanner 29. Venice 30. Libby 31. Milkshake 32. Gordo 33. Bismarck 34. Grant 35. Devin
1. Caro 2 through 9. Caro’s puppies Cassidy, Cannon, Carlotta, Caprice, Cody, Clemenzo, Carly, Cosette, Colonel, and Cameron 10. Curly 11. Moe 12. Larry and Bob 13. Barnabus 14. Nelson 15. Thimble 16. Maria 17. Sammy 18. Max 19. Max 20. Meli 21. Kelly 22. Tippe 23. Donald 24. Nefertiti 25. Pebbles, Rovi, and Newt 26. Kira 27. Daffodile 28. Moora 29. Tiel 30. Papoo 31. Ginny 32. Yia Yia 33. Polly 34. Julie

We finished May with this last group of travelers.

1. Yukon 2. Gus 3. Macie 4. Walter 5. Toots and her puppies Torrence, Tish, Timmons, Trebor, Tess, Trey, Tipper, Tillie, Tonia, Talia, Timothy, and Toro 6. Churro 7. Atlas 8. Max 9. Buster 10. Durango 11. Betty 12. Linda 13. Linette 14. Scooby 15. Chanel 16. Satchmo 17. Izzy 18. Lisa 19. Genesis 20. Hank 21. Bojangles 22. Sosa 23. Boris 24. Matty 25. Egypt 26. Roma 27. Roma’s puppies Rayna, Deacon, Juliette, Luke, Gunnar, and Teddy 28. Pepper 29. William 30. Jazz 31. Cher 32. Sylvester 33. Juno 34. Henderson 35. Hobbes 36. Blazer 37. Lola 38. Bella 39. Harley 40. Hanson 41. Jack 42. Janet 43. Domino 44. Pelon 45. Chrissy
1. Orlando 2. Olive 3. Mopsy 4. Star 5. Aloha 6. Buddy 7. McCartney 8. Starr 9. Lennon 10. Melanie 11. Melanie’s puppies Mork, Millen, Maily, Muffles, Moobler, Max, Madeline, and Mitch 12. Carianne 13. Gerta 14. Gerta’s puppies Grayson, Gayla, Gifford, Gabby, Gail, Garson, Gimbel,, and Griffin 15. Bisket 16. June 17. Gabby, Dutchess, Grey, Cotton, and Sheba 18. Stella and her kittens 19. Red 20. Colleen 21. Sassy 22. Rita 23. Raven 24. Tex and Beck

Thank you to everyone who shows up week after week, whether transporting, volunteering, fostering, mentoring, or donating. Without you, none of these fantastic dogs and cats would have the opportunity to be strong, healthy, and in loving homes. And if you’ve never been to a Rescued Pets Movement transport, please join our crew!

Thanks again to our friends from Nexen for their unflagging energy and enthusiasm not only as they escorted our dogs and cats, but for all the work they did throughout the month in thanking our donors and helping clean and organize the RPM clinic. You’ll recognize them in the photos by their blue shirts!

Success Story Sunday: Ninja & Minnie Cooper

Fosters! Do you complete a Foster Report Card or send a letter for each of your temporary babies? Aside from it being a cathartic way to say goodbye, foster insights into the personality of each foster baby can greatly help with placement and transition into their forever homes in Colorado. If you choose to provide your contact information on the report card, you may even receive updates from some families!

One of our RPM fosters sent both Ninja and Minnie Cooper to our rescue partners in Colorado. She recently received these photos and word from their forever families that both are doing great and loving their new lives! It’s great to hear that Ninja and Minnie are doing so well!


Minnie Cooper - Success StoryMinnie Cooper

If you need a copy of the Foster Report Card, contact our lovely foster coordinators and they can get a soft copy sent to you. Just complete the details and bring a printed copy to Transport!

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