Northwestern students adopt and foster pets during the pandemic


Courtesy of Sylvia Goodman

Sylvia Goodman’s cat Mendy takes a nap.

Agnes Lee, Reporter

When students had to get comfortable with staying in due to pandemic restrictions, some found good company and positive lifestyle changes in their new furry friends.

Weinberg junior Chris Kim currently lives in a studio apartment. He had been planning to adopt a pet of his own when he moved off-campus in Fall Quarter, but he ran into trouble during the adoption process.

“A lot of adoption shelters have a lot of people trying to adopt, and the waitlist is pretty long,” Kim said. “I had to go to a bunch of different websites.”

Last month, Kim was finally able to adopt Soju, his American Ringtail kitten. Since Soju was adopted at 8 weeks old, Kim said he spent the majority of their first week together trying to get her comfortable.

“She got really needy, like wanting attention, so I would have to wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. and stay up to 6 a.m. playing with her, so it was a lot of work at first,” he said.

However, Kim said the adoption created a positive change to his lifestyle. Taking care of Soju has forced him to maintain a consistent schedule, he said, and he finds it comforting to see her next to his computer or when she sleeps on his lap while he is in class.

Medill junior Sylvia Goodman said her new roommate, a Tabby domestic shorthair kitten named Manasseh Mendel — Mendy for short — also changed her lifestyle for the better.

When Goodman was in low spirits during quarantine, she found joy looking through an Evanston pet adoption website. Her roommates would find her “sitting in bed crying over this pet adoption website,” she said. Her therapist eventually recommended she adopt a cat for emotional support.

“So that’s what Mendy is — not officially, he doesn’t have a license, but he’s my little emotional support cat,” Goodman said.

The two met back at her hometown in Louisville at a socially-distanced cat cafe hosted by the Kentucky Humane Society. After seeing Mendy in the cafe, Goodman said she thought, “That’s the cat for me.”

Throughout the past three months, Mendy has brightened Goodman’s days by peeking over the top of her computer screen during class or having her throw a hair tie for him to play fetch with. Most importantly, Goodman said Mendy has been motivating her to keep going because of “the idea of having something else dependent on you.”

McCormick freshman Joel Goh, also said he takes comfort in his pets, but he added that he has had his fair share of loud interruptions from his dog and his family’s foster dogs. In November, his family began fostering dogs from Taiwan, including a corgi and poodles.

During class, Goh said his dogs would get “cooped up inside the house” and start barking for attention while he was in class until he let them on his lap.

Goh expects his family will continue to foster pets after the end of the pandemic. They currently have a Shiba Inu on the way.

“My mom definitely likes the extra child sort of feeling again because my sister hasn’t been back for almost a year and a half now,” he said. “It’s nice to have another dog to come and sleep in bed with you and keep you warm.”

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Twitter: @aggyjlee

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