Life @ U of T

Dog Fostering: Great for both Human and Canine

This past year, I’m confident that I’ve set my personal hour for Most Hours Spent Indoors. Since I don’t need to jog from class to class anymore (unless you count scrambling to find zoom links as exercise), and my living room is now my gym, setting foot outdoors can feel like a chore. That’s where dog fostering comes in handy, since one of the silver linings of the transition to online learning is that it afforded my roommates and I the time to foster dogs.

            When I agreed to take care of adoptable dogs, I had no idea what I was in for. Since I started fostering in September, I’ve welcomed three wonderful pooches into my life: Java, Tira, and Bernie, the latter of whom I am currently fostering. Of course, each one of them came with their own unique challenges. Java ate my favourite pair of running shoes, Tira was so afraid of people that for the first week she lay catatonic on the couch, and Bernie has some serious attachment issues.

            But through it all, from the ruined sneakers to accidents on the carpet, dog fostering has been so worth it. Besides that I get to hang out with an adorable dog all day, one major advantage to fostering is that it gets me outside. I may be able to shove aside my own need to get steps in and to catch some rays, but I can’t deny my foster dog that privilege. After all, foster dogs have often been through a lot, and when I take Bernie for a walk and see his ears perk up and his tail start to wag, I can’t help but think okay, I can deal with the cold for just a bit longer.

            So far, I’ve found that once I get outside with my dog for the day, I can’t imagine not having gone for that walk…not only for the dog’s sake, but also for mine. Especially after spending so much of my day in front of a screen, walking outside is a welcome change of scenery. Going for daily walks with my dog also gives me time to catch up on music and podcasts—things I might otherwise neglect. It’s frighteningly easy to underestimate how badly we need to spend time outdoors daily. Next time you spend 72 consecutive hours inside, ask yourself “Would I do this to a dog?”. It may seem absurd, but the truth is, when it comes to needing to step outside, I’m just like Bernie.

            I guess what I’m getting at it is, treat yourself like you would a foster dog, and step outside every day!

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