19 yrs official at this...(unofficially...my sister and I picked up our first stray 45 years ago..her name was duchess, a DLH orange and white tabby who lived to 18 yrs of age...we hid her under an apple basket under a bush in the backyard for a couple of days before our mom caught us...there were a few strays over the years after that.)
1995..started fostering by taking in spca ringworm cats and kittens and moms with new babes.
1996... my 17 yr old daughter sustained almost 100 bite punctures and scratches from a psyched out spca new momma cat i had stashed in my room....ooops, violently hormonal cats can cause a lot of damage...(that cat once her hormones settled, got a very good home.)
1997... found private rescue with SANS when we adopted tyra..and almost got killed in my backyard by an old abandoned rotti named duke. he was one of my very first "official" rescues...sadly duke did not survive. i really did not know what I was doing. still... I was a trooper and many more foster dogs came thru my doors to practice on and I did start to learn a few things.
2000 opened Katies Place under SANS umbrella but was still fostering senior dogs and cats in my home.
2003 KP officially went it alone.
2004 left KP (bringing all of my fosters with me) and opened SAINTS
2014 still living with a bunch of old animals and carrying around a fat old dog who said she could not walk but 1 hour later did walk when it suited her.
maybe I haven't learned all that much after all.