It all started when…

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Who are you?

My name is Alyssa Leál; I’m a native New York, Latina and first generation American.  I attended NYU for both undergraduate and graduate school (Latin American Studies and Higher Education Administration respectively) and subsequently never left - I’ve spent my entire professional career there. In my last position I traveled abroad with students and probably wouldn't have had the stability to foster as I do in my current job as Department Manager of the English and Dramatic Literature Department.

I am vegan, so I don’t wear or consume any animal products - this is important to me.  I am extremely passionate about animals and have worked on animal conservation projects in both Ecuador and Costa Rica - working with large cats, primates, turtles and more. I think I am good with people, but if I’m being honest, I like animals much more. Thankfully, I work close enough to home that I can run home during lunch and check on my fosters if need be!

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How did you find out about PKNYC?

In May of 2017, I began volunteering for Best Friends Animal Shelter; walking dogs and fostering kitties for the City Shelter. I created an instagram to promote my fosters as well as highlight the plight of animals in true need - I came across PuppyKitty’s account a few months later. I was blown away by how many kitties were out there in need of help and I wanted to help!

Suzy put a call out for someone to help rescue cats that were dumped in Greenwich Village.  I happened to be off that day so I grabbed two carriers, some towels, treats and got down there. It was about a 2 hour process but we were able to rescue the two cats who I fostered until they were placed in their furever home. Bleeker and Thompson (named from where they were rescued) are two of my favorite former fosters!

Why would you recommend fostering with PKNYC?

Team PK helps the forgotten kittens (and occasional dogs and ferrets) of New York City. Without them, many of these animals would be injured - or worse - killed outside. Friendly cats who are essentially dumped do not survive; when a friendly cat is found Team PK make all efforts to find a foster and/or furever home. They also work very hard to TNR (trap-neuter-return) more feral cats that do not do well indoors and/or have a fear of humans; to provide shelter and consistent food so they can live better lives. Lastly, they do a great job with educating people on how we can save more cats, motivating them to so their part (look at me!) by either doing TNR, fostering, donating or adopting - or really all of the aforementioned! They’ve been a great source of support to me over this past year and that motivates me to help them more!

What’s so great about fostering?

Fostering is a lot easier than one would think. All you need is a bathroom or bedroom (if you have other pets); you can also get a canvas pen and set it up in your living room. Not only are you saving a life (or two or three) but the emotional reward that you receive from doing so is beyond anything you could imagine. There are so many resources too! Free ASPCA workshops, YouTube videos, and support via Instagram - if you ever have questions. I always try to keep in touch with the many adopters or sometimes even get to follow them on Instagram; to see my former fosters living their best life. I can tell you from experience - there are few things more rewarding.