Growing by four (paws)

A Helena family finds a forever friend when they choose to foster “Teddy Bear” during the COVID-19 crisis.

By Heather Jones Skaggs for Bham Pets
Photos courtesy of Bham DC Photography

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic stretch to every aspect of life. Even for pets. As shelters, humane societies, and rescue groups had to close their doors temporarily, many people came forward to help with food donations and to open their homes to foster pets.

The Thomas family decided that fostering a pet through the pandemic would be a great way to help. “We chose the Greater Birmingham Humane Society (GBHS) because I am a part of the Junior League of Birmingham, and GBHS is one of many nonprofits we support,” Jennifer Thomas says. Jennifer and her husband John discussed fostering a dog with their two children, Daniel (Danny) and Colton.

Eight-year-old Danny recalls the day they brought him home: “It was the best day ever.” It’s like pure joy when a dog jumps up into a truck and sticks his head out the window with his tongue hanging out. Danny and his mom went to the GBHS and found Teddy Bear (called Cosmo at the time), a four-year-old retriever mix. “I never had a dog before. I loved him right away because he was so gentle and calm,” Danny says.

The first day Teddy Bear came home, Jennifer says they noticed his sweet, laid-back personality and knew he was going to be a part of their family. As she puts it, it was “a foster fail, but in a good way.” They chose to welcome Teddy Bear into his forever home. “He has added calm and joy to our family,” she says. “This also has helped teach responsibility to my kids and what goes into taking care of a dog.”

Like most families, the pandemic has led to significant adjustments for the Thomas family. “I am homeschooling my eight-year-old, my husband works from home, and we are also balancing keeping our three-years-old entertained throughout the day,” Jennifer says. “The upside to all of this is that we have slowed down a lot, we are spending quality time with each other and Teddy, sitting down to real meals around the table, and not having to keep such a busy schedule.” With his new family, Teddy, loves belly rubs, playing with the kids, and sleeping.

Jennifer recommends fostering as a great way to try a pet out before committing. In their case, the decision to foster ended up providing the best outcome for their family. “We

have young kids, and we wanted to make sure the dog was a good fit for our family. It is also such a great way to give back to the Humane Society and the animal that needs a home.”


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