New pets make their way into Mid-Pacific homes during quarantine

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Contributed by Sean Walrod

Junior Sean Walrod’s cat, Guardian, is taken by surprise. She was adopted from a local shelter during quarantine.

Siena Usui, Staff Writer

Pets. Whether they’re scaly, wrinkly, or fluffy, we all love our pets. They’re our faithful companions when we’re at our lowest, and our beloved friends when we’re in need of a laugh. 

According to a news report from KHON2, there has been an increase in pet adoptions and people fostering animals ever since COVID-19 hit the state and the first stay at home order occurred. Members of Mid-Pacific’s community shared some of their stories about getting their own little creatures.

Science teacher Elizabeth Blauwiekel takes care of six kittens that she fostered from the O’ahu SPCA. (Photo contributed by Elizabeth Blauwiekel)

“All the puppies that came in were gone the same day they arrived, people were definitely adopting puppies pretty quickly. Unfortunately there are still older cats and dogs there that need homes too,” said math teacher Lisa Russell, who volunteers at the O’ahu SPCA, a no kill shelter located in Waipahu. 

Science teacher Elizabeth Blauwiekel fostered six kittens from the O‘ahu SPCA. 

“There are a couple of reasons I fostered them, but mostly since I had a lot of extra time because of COVID-19 and not a lot going on, and I felt like I wanted to have something extra to spend some love on. I thought little kittens would be pretty fun and they would bring me joy,” said Blauwiekel. 

The Hawaiian Humane Society’s new Emergency Foster Care program came into life because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first four days more than 200 animals were placed into foster homes across O‘ahu, according to the organization’s Paw Prints April-July 2020 Community Newsletter.

With most people spending the majority of their time inside, they have to make do with what they have at home to keep entertained.

“It’s something for you to keep busy with, like cleaning the tank. It’s really boring in quarantine so there’s nothing really to do,” said senior Alyssa Nakagawa. She recently got a tetra fish named Gyoza.

Junior Sean Walrod said that his Dad’s friend owns a shelter for cats, and his family decided to get a cat from the shelter. He adopted a black cat in late June and named her Guardian.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a survey of pet owners reported that 74 percent reported mental health improvements from pet ownership. 

“The biggest positive that came away from all of it was a summer full of fun and love with all these rambunctious little kittens, even though we were in quarantine I had something really exciting to do. I actually ended up adopting one of them. I adopted Zinc,” said Blauwiekel. 

She named them after elements in the periodic table: Copper, Krypton, Xenon, Cobalt, Zinc, and Nickel.

“When we first got them, my dog thought she was their mama. They would snuggle in with her, she would give them baths, count them, and keep on making sure they were safe. By the end when they were rambunctious teenage kittens, she would tattle on them when they did bad things,” said Blauwiekel.

Adopting can give pets a forever home and carry a responsibility to be committed to taking care of them. Having a pet during COVID-19 can also keep your family engaged.

“It’s soothing and calming, it’s nice to have another animal around,” said Walrod.