Students foster pets during quarantine to support shelters


Photo courtesy of: Ellie Bible

Lounging together, Junior Ellie Bible’s four new foster puppies enjoy the outdoors in a deck chair. Bible and her family decided to foster Boxer and Cocker Spaniel mix puppies to help support the shelters during the pandemic.

Mia Folkers, Feature Editor

Opening your front door, you watch as a new puppy curiously runs to explore every room in the house. As its small paws quickly travel into your room, you imagine the millions of pictures and memories that are in store for you and your temporary pet. With the excitement building in your chest, you decide to ignore the upcoming tasks ahead. The first few weeks of potty training, frequent vet appointments, and adoption day all spin in the back of your thoughts, and your only hope is that all the work will lead the puppy into a happier home. 

Junior Ellie Bible and her family have been involved with fostering puppies for two years and decided to foster more during this year.

 “My family and I have been fostering dogs since December of 2018,” Bible said. “Currently, we are taking care of four puppies, three boys and one girl. Their breed is a mix of Boxer and Cocker Spaniel. When we first got them the lady that gave us them said that they were all boys, but one of them I could kind of tell wasn’t a boy, but the lady assured us it was. We named them all after Star Wars characters and at first her name was Anakin but we called her after Anakin’s nickname Ani, so her name ended up working out pretty well.”

With four puppies around the house, Bible believes that she must always be on the move to keep up with all of them. 

“I do a lot of different things and they are constantly changing,” Bible said. “I help with whatever is needed at the time, whether it’s feeding them, taking them outside, walking them, or just playing with them. My mom does most of the grunt work since she works from home and has the most time to take care of them; normally I would be at school or lacrosse, but right now I help her out a lot. My siblings help out whenever it is needed as well.”

According to Bible’s mom, Libby Bible, fostered puppies need constant care and additional training to be wanted and eventually adopted.

“Many dogs that come from the shelter need to be potty trained so that takes a lot of time and patience,” Libby said. “They often need to learn to sit, stay, not to jump, and even adjust to walking on collars and leashes. The puppies are like toddlers without diapers, so they require lots of care. It often feels like a full-time job, but all the care helps prepare them for their new homes.” 

With the current circumstances due to the pandemic, this temporary foster care has become a longer period of time than expected, according to Ellie. 

“With temporary ownership, normally you keep the animals long enough for them to get all their shots, get neutered or spayed, and get their check-ups so they are ready to be adopted,” Ellie said. “Because of everything going on, the lady we communicate with about the puppies is unsure if they have been adopted, so we will keep them for about three more weeks.”

Following a similar path as the Bible’s, Junior Ainsley Eis has also been supporting the shelter by her recent fostering of kittens.

“We currently have a litter of five Siamese kittens and their mom from Austin Siamese Rescue,” Eis said.“I have learned while fostering that one litter of animals can have different fathers. That seems to be the case with the litter we are fostering, as three of the kittens are Snowshoe Siamese and the other two are Flame Point Siamese.”

The fostering experience creates the best condition and environment for the kittens, according to Eis.

“Fostering helps the kittens become more social and have a higher chance of being adopted,” Eis said. “Helping an animal from your own home will always show that animal more love and care than what could be shown from within a shelter. As of right now, fostering is also taking some of the stress off of shelter workers during the pandemic.”

With a total of five fostered kittens, Eis finds a personal love and attachment to each of them.

“I adore watching them grow, both physically in size and in their demeanor as they grow more comfortable with me and to their environment,” Eis said. “I love fostering and will continue to foster animals. It is fun, entertaining, and makes me happy.”

The Bible family also finds some personal joy in their fostering experience according to Ellie.

“It gives me something to do especially now with the whole pandemic,” Ellie said. “Knowing that what we’re doing is helping the community makes it even more special. It really makes the whole family happy having a new dog running around.” 

Even though the fostered pets are not permanent, Libby believes that the final results for the animals make all the fostering participation worthwhile.

“The best part of fostering is seeing the pictures and videos of the animals with their new families,” Libby said. “Knowing we have helped save these dogs’ lives and brought joy to families makes all the time, effort, and money worth it.”