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Foster Friday: Frisbee

Posted on Friday, February 19, 2021

This summer, 8-year-old Hannah Santilli wanted to put her love of animals to work to help cats and kittens in need. She and her mom completed our online Meet The Fosters® training course and joined our wonderful community of foster providers.

It wasn’t long before the Santilli family’s generous offer to foster homeless pets was needed. Hannah and her parents, Leisha and John, first fostered a litter of kittens. With their first foster experience under their belts, they felt confident that they could provide a comfortable “rest stop” for pets to enjoy before they met their forever families. The Santillis continued to open their hearts and home to pets in need, including those who faced medical challenges.

Meanwhile, a 3-year-old cat had been found as a stray in Chesterfield County. He had a limp, and our partners at Chesterfield County Animal Services contacted us. We were ready and prepared to help the injured cat. We transferred him into our care, named him Frisbee and got to work to help him feel better.

X-rays showed that Frisbee had a fractured femur from an injury that never properly healed. Chances were, our veterinarians thought, that Frisbee had been hit by a car. Associate Veterinarian Dr. David Molinas performed a femoral head ostectomy (FHO) surgery to restore Frisbee’s mobility in his injured hip and to relieve his pain.

Soon after, and while he healed from his surgery, Frisbee would need around-the-clock care from dedicated foster providers. As you might have guessed, Hannah and her parents were eager to help Frisbee through his recovery period.

While Hannah worked each day with Frisbee on his physical therapy (encouraging him to jump on and off boxes of different heights and gentle playtime), she began to fall in love.

Even as Hannah and Leisha began posting videos on Facebook to encourage their friends and family to consider adopting Frisbee, they felt their hearts being pulled in another direction.

Frisbee has proven himself to be the perfect snuggle buddy for Hannah.

Hannah started to drop hints that this sweet boy might be a perfect fit for their family. After a few weeks of asking if she could keep Frisbee forever, Hannah’s parents finally agreed, and Frisbee became a permanent member of the Santilli family.

Now, three months after his adoption, Frisbee has been renamed “Simba,” and he is settling in perfectly in his new home. He is enjoying his pain-free lifestyle with his loving family by his side.

Although foster care begins as a temporary refuge for a homeless pet, some foster volunteers become so closely bonded with their charges that they can’t bear to return the pet and decide instead to adopt.

It may be dubbed a “foster failure,” but it’s really the best kind of success: a lifelong, loving home for a formerly homeless pet. We instead like to call it a “foster WIN!”


Gray Miller and Olive (dog)
Gray and her dog Olive

Gray Miller is our manager of community development. After adopting her dog, Olive, in 2009, Gray made it a priority to give back to the Richmond SPCA because of how much we had given to her by saving the life of her best friend.

In her role, she works with wonderful people and generous local organizations who wish to partner with the Richmond SPCA to support its lifesaving work.

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