From Refusal to Love at First Sight; Why Fostering a Puppy as A College Student was the Best Decision Ever

It was finally October 3. The day my roommates had been anxiously awaiting since the beginning of the semester. The day our foster puppy finally became ours. I was not too thrilled that this day had finally arrived. 

Credit: Ashley Carl

While deep down I was excited, my initial reaction to this idea of fostering was quite the opposite. I tried to fight my roommates on this decision by explaining to them that the financial repercussions and huge responsibility of having a dog as a college student outweigh the benefits. However, they insisted that with a virtual semester due to COVID-19, it was the perfect time to have a companion. 

So, they finally convinced me and at 9 a.m. on a crisp autumn Wisconsin morning, we hopped in the car with a leash and treats in hand ready to embrace our new arrival.  

As we pulled up to the pickup site with a sign that read, “Underdog Pet Rescue Pickup,” we saw a woman holding the smallest puppy I had ever seen. We looked at her questionably wondering if this was the dog we came for. 

“Are you the ones fostering Jasper?” she asked. 

“Oh my god yes and he’s even cuter in person then the pictures,” replied my roommate Gianna. 

I initially had no interest in Jasper because I didn’t want to create any sort of attachment with him. However, as Gianna drove, my roommate Alyssa instantly fell for Jasper and put him on her lap the majority of the ride home. 

My roommates insisted that I give Jasper a chance, so the last five minutes of the car ride I agreed to let him sit on my lap. Although I tried to resist him, the minute Alyssa handed him to me and he started to lick my face my heart melted. 

The next month and a half definitely went against my initial thought of not wanting to get attached. Daily, Gianna and I would walk Jasper around our college campus, bring him to our local coffee shop each morning for Puppuccinos and fill his new life with lots of love and toys.

Everywhere we went, we would be stopped on the street by people asking to pet him or to tell us he’s one of the cutest fosters they’ve seen on campus. We even had strangers begging us to babysit him when we needed.

After weeks of waking up at 6 a.m. to walk and feed him, endless hours of playtime, and a whole lot of companionship, the reality eventually hit that we were going back to our home states for Thanksgiving break and our small college apartment just wasn’t feasible to fit a growing and active puppy.  

Although heartbroken, we knew it was time for us to find Jasper a forever home where he could run and play. When we finally found the perfect family to give Jasper the love he deserved, I suddenly was overcome with a mix of emotions. On one hand, I was extremely sad because of the strong bond Jasper and I created, but on the other hand I felt joyous because I knew he was going to receive the life he deserved and one we couldn’t give to him as college students. 

The first week without Jasper was really hard and lonely. However, it gave me some time to reflect on what I learned from my fostering experience. Not only did he bring so much love into our lives, but he also taught me a very valuable lesson about the importance of responsibility. For the first time in my life, I really learned how to care for another living thing. 

Our world today amidst a global pandemic can at times feel dark and lonely. If you are feeling this way, I highly encourage you to scope out local organizations like Underdog Pet Rescue which provides stray or abandoned animals with temporary and permanent homes. There are plenty of animals out there who could use a loving home and now more than ever they can provide great companionship in return. 

Fostering Jasper was by far the highlight of my semester if not one of the highlights of my entire college career. During these very abnormal past few months, Underdog Pet Rescue provided me with a best friend, tons of memories and an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. 

Credit: Ashley Carl

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