If you’ve noticed your Instagram feed filling up with adorable puppy pictures, you’re not alone; of the few positives of mandatory isolation has been the rise in pet fostering. Pre-COVID there were an estimated 3.3 million dogs entering shelters each year according to the ASPCA, but during the last few months, there has been a marked uptick in adoptions. Given that animals are especially vulnerable during the pandemic, the development has been encouraging for lifelong dog lovers like Camila Morrone. The actress has always been conscious of animal rights issues, but when she found herself grounded during quarantine, she wanted to dedicate time to giving back. “Fostering was this thing that I’d always wanted to do,” she shared on the phone from Los Angeles. “When quarantine happened, I started seeing different accounts on Instagram for adoption agencies, and I started reaching out. The first people who got back to me were this foundation called Hollywood Huskies.”
Founded in 2016, the non-profit focuses on finding homes for Siberian huskies and mixes in Southern California and Canada. Initially bred for sledding by the Chukchi, an indigenous people from the northernmost part of Siberia, the dogs are known for their resilience and friendliness. For Morrone, who hadn’t lived with a pet since the death of her beloved dog, Princess, during her childhood, letting a new animal into her life was a trial by fire. After filling out her paperwork and expecting an extended wait she received a surprise message from the shelter. “They said they had a dog named Jack who needs a home by 8:00 AM or else he’s getting sent up north,” she explains. “I didn’t know if that meant a shelter or another home, but I told them to bring him here. It was midnight, and we were speaking over DM, so it all happened fast, but also organically.”
Jack’s speedy arrival meant tackling a host of new challenges. “I’d never had a puppy before, and it’s an adjustment, to say the least,” says Morrone. “There were a lot of potty training accidents and a lot of chewing!” Though her original fostering arrangement was supposed to be temporary, Morrone soon found herself getting attached. “I denied it and told myself I wasn’t going to keep him, and I’d find him an amazing home,” she says. “A couple of weeks in, I found myself signing the adoption papers. That was my first foster fail, and I’ve had another one since! You feel guilty that this dog loves you, and you know it would break your heart to give them up.” The term “foster fail” refers to someone who started fostering a pet and ended up adopting them. Morrone added another dog, Sally, two months after adopting Jack.