Why Quarantine Is the Perfect Time to Foster a Dog

It’s safe to say everyone has felt lonely during quarantine. After six months of doing the same thing- completely nothing, we’re all looking for a change and something fun but safe in these anxious times. The perfect thing to do while you're stuck at home is to foster a senior dog. Say goodbye to sitting on your phone and laptop all day, and welcome a life of responsibility, love, and living in the moment. 

Being confined to my home all day, with online classes, less social interaction, and all doctor appointments, personal training and any other meetings being remote, I started to feel so lonely. All of my friends went back to college but I was still stuck at home taking online classes and only leaving my house for necessities. I was looking for a constant companion, a light, and a source of love to make me feel better and give me something to do. 

I decided to foster a dog because I missed having a dog around, especially now being in the house so much. Fostering a dog is such a beautiful thing, instead of having a dog stay at the shelter waiting to get adopted, you can give it love and a wonderful life for the time being. I read some stories online and my heart melted, I knew I wanted to do a good deed for a dog that needed help and love, and this was the perfect time to do it. 

Once I signed up to be a foster, I was soon contacted by one of the shelters I signed up with, Saint Huberts, in Madison, NJ. They treat their animals like their own children and when you sign up to foster they explain how much of a good thing you’re doing. Opening your home to dogs that were formerly abused or abandoned and providing them a safe space. 

I looked at their website and told them of a dog I was interested in fostering, because the one thing that I required is that the dog be house trained, and that left me with two options. I drove to the shelter expecting to come home with a young, large, and loving pitbull, but I ended up coming home with a 9-year-old, chunky, corgi mix named O’Neil.

Your job when fostering a dog is simple, take care of the dog as if it is your own until someone reaches out that they are interested in adopting him. I knew that I was going to change this dog’s life, but I had no idea how much he was going to change mine. 

As soon as I left the shelter with O’Neil, he stopped me and sat right in front of me. I sat on the ground and he came up and licked my face, sat on my lap, and intended to be pet. It gave me such a corny but warm and fuzzy feeling inside and I knew that I had made the right choice in fostering a dog. When walking him around town, he was a hit and often stopped by strangers to be pet. It made me so happy to see how open people become once they see a dog. Little kids running over, adults stopping whatever they’re doing to say hi to a dog. O’Neil was very social, so I got to meet a lot of new people and a lot of new dogs too.

My mental health was down in the dumps due to quarantine, but fostering O’Neil created a routine for me which helped me tremendously. Every morning, I woke up earlier than normal to feed and walk O’Neil. This allowed me to have some time before my online classes to relax and eat as opposed to my normal rolling out of bed. Throughout the day, while sitting and doing work, listening to my lectures, or wandering around my house, O’Neil followed me everywhere. Can you imagine how much easier it is to do online school when you have a dog sitting in your lap and sleeping? He brought such calm energy and became more of an emotional support dog to me. Whenever I felt anxious, I just sat or laid with him and pet him, or I took him outside to distract myself from my anxiety.

I was so tired of sitting on my phone and laptop all day, but fostering a dog does not allow you to do that. Instead of not getting out of bed in between classes, I now get up, get dressed, and spend more time outside. This makes me feel more productive and allows me to live in the moment. I know if I didn’t have a dog to take care of, I wouldn’t be doing all of these things just for myself.

Once it was time for O'Neill to be adopted, I broke down. O’Neil allowed me to live life again, was a constant companion and friend to me, and showered me with love. During the last possible minute, I decided I had to keep this dog to myself. Never did I expect to adopt the dog I was fostering, but it just happened, and it is the best decision I ever made. The reason why I love it so much is because I allowed myself to just keep something that made me so happy. Besides, I knew O’Neil was already attached and not looking to leave me either.