15 (more) pet quarantine buddy stories

As people stay safe at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are opting to do it with a buddy ― as in a homeless cat or dog from a local shelter. All across the country, people have stepped up to foster pets and more are answering the call every day.

Fostering a pet is a rewarding experience anytime, but perhaps now more than ever. Not only does it help shelters while they are temporarily closed, it’s a wonderful way to keep your mind from worrying too much about the world. Cute kittens and precocious pups have a way of capturing your attention.

Life, as we like to say, is always better with a friend by your side. Here are 15 (more) rays of light to brighten your day.

1. Kiko

Kiko the tabby cat lying down

Sophia enjoys fostering unsocialized kittens and helping them adjust to life in a home with humans. When news that the coronavirus was apt to cause challenges for Los Angeles shelters, she volunteered to help the team at Best Friends in Los Angeles, which had just the kitten for her: Kiko.

“She’s warming up to me,” says Sophia. “At first, the hissing and growling were loud. Now, they are soft growls and hisses and she allows me to pick her up.” In fact, Kiko even purred for the first time recently while playing with a toy. That’s a big step. Way to go, Kiko and Sophia!

2. Dizzy

Dizzy the black and white cat in a wire kennel

At the lifesaving center in Atlanta, 11-year-old Dizzy is affectionately known as a “grumpy cat.” Recently this cynical gentleman, who has feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and is diabetic, found a fantastic foster home with a family that appreciates him keeping it real while loving him just the way he is.

3. Sugar

Sugar the foster dog being held by his foster mom

When Michelle Sathe found herself working from home, she decided it was the perfect opportunity to foster a pet. Enter Sugar, a dog from the lifesaving center in Los Angeles who melted Michelle’s heart. Today, Sugar is enjoying the good life at Michelle’s place and gets along great with Michelle’s two dogs.

4. Mama Bean

Photo of Mama Bean the dog next to a photo of her litter of puppies on a blanket

Mama Bean delivered 10 bundles of canine joy and hope at a shelter in Atlanta before being brought to Best Friends. They then moved on to the foster home of Natalie Barbee, who reports that mom and babies are all doing just fine.

5. Gilly, Mousie, Miss Dubs and Renee

Gilly the black and white kitten, lying on her side

Kathy has her hands full with four kittens: Gilly, Mousie, Miss Dubs and Renee. And though she loves it, capturing all the kittens together in one photo has (understandably) proven to be pretty tough.

Find a shelter near you and bring home a quarantine buddy

6. AC

AC the pit bull type dog lying on a chair

Gina Burrows can’t stop taking photos of her foster dog, AC, who is from Love That Dog Hollywood. “She's an amazing office mate and just lies quietly somewhere around my desk until it's time to go for a walk,” says Gina, who admits she’s totally smitten.

7. Bubbles

Bubbles the gray and white puppy on a multicolored cushion

Emily is fostering Bubbles, one of the first puppies with parvovirus saved by Detroit Animal Care and Control, thanks to a devoted and ever-growing group of local supporters and volunteers. Even though Emily hadn’t fostered a dog in several years, she raised her hand to help. “I said I’d be happy to foster an adult dog, assuming that’s what was needed,” she says. “And I ended up with Bubbles, a 12-pound puppy who makes hilarious T. rex noises when she yawns and is the perfect addition to my morning conference calls.”

8. Leona

Fluffy brown dog with an under-bite, Leona

Leona loves to snuggle and be held. And she likes the great outdoors, too. “Last weekend we took her on a hike and she was a total adventure dog ― fearless and high energy,” says Melissa Lipani, who’s fostering the 18-month-old pup through Utah Animal Advocacy Foundation.

If Leona can’t go on a hike with her foster family, she’s perfectly content in the backyard with Melissa’s dog, Pickles.

9. Rick

Rick the black cat in his foster home

Rick came to Best Friends in New York from the city shelter, but these days he’s waiting out COVID-19 with his foster mom, Amanda (or more specifically, on her lap).

10. Brian

Brian, a gray and white pit bull type dog, wearing heart-shaped red glasses

Brian is deaf and had heartworm disease when he was brought to City Dogs in Cleveland. Caitlin immediately fell in love with his gentle soul and stepped up to foster him. Now Brian is undergoing heartworm treatment while learning sign language that will, in turn, help him with basic training.

11. Oreo

Oreo the black and white dog in his foster home

Usually, Cat Oyler can’t foster pets because she travels internationally for work. But when the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to her overseas trips, she contacted Best Friends and was matched with a sweet four-year-old dog named Oreo.

12. Major, Dixon, Salem, Ambrose

Photo of a woman holding two kittens next to another photo of two different kittens from the litter lying on a blanket

In New York City, Milica Kostic is fostering not one, but two pairs of kittens: Major and Dixon, who are still being bottle-fed, and a pair of seven-week-old kittens named Salem and Ambrose.

13. Perry and Fanta

A photo of Perry the brown tabby and Fanta the orange tabby cat next to each other

Laura agreed to help out by fostering two cats with the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) from the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Atlanta. “Perry is still figuring out that feet are not scary and therefore shouldn’t be attacked in the bed,” she says. “And Fanta is sooooo sweet. She makes biscuits every time I pet her.”

14. Gus and Hamilton

Hamilton the dog lying on a chair next to a pillow

It’s always good to have a buddy by your side, especially when you’re suddenly required to stay home 24/7. Best buds Gus and Hamilton are crashing at Carolyn Fitzpatrick’s place. “They’re an old man pair who just want a nice quiet retirement home,” says Carolyn. Sounds reasonable!

15. Olga

Olga the puppy wearing a pink paper ID collar lying in a car

Olga came to Best Friends in New York City from Palm Valley Animal Society, just as the city’s coronavirus response was ramping up. That was also about the same time that Mallory’s home became available. “It was unfortunate timing for the city, but the perfect time for me to foster since my kids and husband were going to be home for at least two weeks,” says Mallory.

Olga has been a “sweetheart” who loves Mallory’s two sons. “At first our dog, Bauer, was not thrilled, but he's slowly coming around and even played this morning in our yard. She likes to play, is content to be on her own (sometimes to nap) and gives sweet little kisses to everyone who lets her.”

You can help! Now is the time to foster a pet where you live

Photos courtesy of Cat Oyler, Sophia Lim, Best Friends in Atlanta, Michelle Sathe, Natalie Barbee, Kathy Moran, Gina Burrows, Emily Douglas, Melissa Lipani, Amanda Ferr, Cailtin, Milica Kostic, Carolyn Fitzpatrick and Mallory Kerley