Foster Hero Story: Meet Vanessa & Carla, Willa

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Vanessa saved Carla (hamster) and Willa (rat) from an animal shelter. Both hamsters and rats are smart, friendly, and most of them like to cuddle, making them great companions for families and kids. Here’s Vanessa’s foster hero story on how she rescued these two babies.

Hamster photo courtesy of Ricky Kharawala

What made you decide to foster?

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many to shelter in place, so I decided to foster them. I lived alone but already had a dog and I was keen to learn how to take care of new kinds of animals. Carla (hamster) and Willa (rat) were less than a year old.

What was your experience fostering Carla and Willa?

In the past, I’ve mostly fostered dogs. But my current dog is very selective, and only likes smaller dogs or puppies, which limits dogs I can foster. I love being able to take care of animals in a home, away from the chaos of a shelter, where they can rest and we can learn more about them so that when they are ready for adoption, we have a better idea of how they will do in a home or with a family.

Rat photo courtesy of Vaun

The experience provided entertainment for me and my dog (she likes to watch them). I did find that the rat cage/tank is pretty small and I would have preferred a larger cage for her. (Something to think about for those fostering these type of animals.)

How has fostering helped others?

My coworkers find it funny how often and the different kinds of animals I foster. I’ve helped other colleagues in their fostering ventures by answering any questions and providing advice on fostering.

These tiny animals love human affection too!

What advice would you give to first-time foster pet parents? 

Patience, it’s a learning experience for you and the pet. And know that when they are ready for adoption you will have the best knowledge to find the pet the best home possible.

For more tips on how to take care of hamsters, go here and here. For rat care tips, go here.

Ready to help a foster pet? You can search for pets in need on our site, just visit

If you would like to be featured in our blog, fill out our questionnaire here to share your foster hero story and help save a pet’s life now!