After moving out of University dorms or other housing arrangements, some students choose to either foster or adopt pets in their apartments and houses. While a few humane societies host adoption events in Charlottesville — including Cat’s Cradle — the SPCA of Albemarle County is the most popular among students. A non-kill organization, the SPCA has an active foster program that appeals to many University students who want to take care of furry critters for a week or two but are unable to adopt.
Fourth-year College students Amanda Finn and Madeleine McDonald, as well as their eight other roommates, fostered two puppies last week from the SPCA.
With a lighter class load schedule in their fourth year and the desire for furry friends, they said one of their roommates applied to the foster program and within a week they were delivered two puppies. Finn said they could not adopt pets because a number of their roommates have dog allergies, so they compromised by fostering the dogs for a five day period.
“[SPCA] provided us with the crate, water bowls, basically everything,” McDonald said. “[The] only thing we bought were some treats and toys to spoil them.”
Although there is little to no monetary cost involved, the girls said the time investment involved with fostering the puppies was more than they had anticipated. Despite living in a house of 10 students, Finn said they still have friends come over throughout the day to help them walk the dogs, Marco and Luca.
The help from fellow students and socialization on dog walks allowed the girls to be more active during the day, but also complicated their evenings. McDonald said at least one of the roommates had to stay home with the puppies at all times.
“I’m definitely glad they’re going home soon, as much as I love them. They are a lot of work,” Finn said.
Academically, the fostered puppies posed a little bit of a challenge. Finn said one of the roommates had to miss a few classes to take care of the dogs, and one of the puppies had issues with stitches after a recent neutering surgery, which required many of the roommates to come home and figure out how to help.
“It’s like having a child!” Finn said.
Despite all the hard work involved in fostering the puppies, McDonald said they loved the experience and their companionship during the short week. After the successful fostering stint, they both said they would consider fostering another pet from the SPCA later this year, and recommend fostering any pet while being a student.
“They’re little rascals,” McDonald said. “But they were well worth it.”