What could instantly elicit more joy than a puppy or kitten? This week we talk to Mary Talalay, an expert in fostering animals to get them ready to find their forever homes. She also mentors new fosters, especially first-timers. Mary offers advice to those new to fostering and potential fosters who are curious about what’s involved in the process. She shares stories of fosters that hold a special place in her heart and how she and her daughter initially got involved in their foster community in Maryland.
At the end of the episode I share two resources created by Best Friends Animal Society. They put together a foster program training playbook with an e-learning module, care manuals for dogs, cats, and kittens, and other helpful links. They also have free online recordings of webinars, town halls, online courses, and helpful tips on fostering.
This is a heart-warming episode for all the animal lovers out there and those who want to play a part in animals rescue and adoption.
Topics discussed in this episode:
- What it’s like to be a foster as well as the commitment needed (it can be as a big or as small a commitment as you have time for!)
- The community of fosters that Mary and her teenage daughter discovered and are now a part of
- Memorable fosters that found shelter and safety in Mary’s home
- Ways to get involved in the foster community even if you can’t take an animal into your home
Links to resources:
- Mary on Instagram – @ta_la_lay
- Maryland SPCA – https://www.mdspca.org
- TRU Rescue – https://trurescue.org
- Sweet video of Mary’s daughter showing a lot of the animals they’ve fostered over the years – https://vimeo.com.659721314
- Best Friends Animal Society fostering and adoption resources – https://network.bestfriends.org/proven-strategies/operations/fostering-adoption
- Best Friends Animal Society Foster Programs Training Playbook – https://network.bestfriends.org/education/manuals-handbooks-playbooks/foster-programs-training-playbook
- Christa on Twitter – @christanyc
- Christa on Instagram – @christarosenyc
- Christa on Facebook – @AuthorChrista
- Christa on Medium – @christaavampato
- Christa on TikTok – @christanyc
- Christa’s website – ChristaAvampato.com
Mary Talalay has a BS in Journalism from Temple University, an MS in Organizational Dynamics from University of Pennsylvania, and an MPH from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She played goalie for Temple University’s Division 1 Final Four Women’s Lacrosse team and was a member of Phi Sigma Sigma.
She also studied Epidemiology in Krakow, Poland with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has certifications from Quality Matters, Sloane Consortium, (Online Learning Consortium) and is a Blackboard Exemplary Course reviewer.
Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Mary worked as a technical and medical writer for companies such as Baxter BioScience, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and many local biotechnology companies.
She worked as a project manager for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s MD-PhD program, creating a comprehensive database of the program alumni and assisting with grants and admissions.
She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Slovak Republic, working as a project manager for the Slovak Ministry of Health, helping the government achieve compliance in the area of Public Health for accession into the EU. She continues to assist her Slovak colleagues with manuscript preparation pro bono.
She enjoys photography (her work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Maryland Zoo Annual Report, and KIWI Magazine), writing children’s books, travel, and kayaking.
One of her favorite overseas trips was spending Halloween in Transylvania. Her family fosters animals for the Maryland SPCA and they lost count after the 100th kitten.