Students give back to community during social isolation

In this uncertain and stressful time, Shorewood students have found ways to enjoy themselves while benefiting the community.

Soon after schools shut down, Sophie O’Connor, senior, decided with their family to foster a puppy.

“We wanted to do something that was helpful that we couldn’t otherwise do, and so we’re fostering [the puppy] from a private rescue called Hoovers Hause,” O’Connor said. “Basically, they go down to the south, where there’s a culture of not spaying or neutering your dogs, and they get puppies – just litters and litters of puppies – from high-kill shelters. And then they bring them up, and then they foster them and adopt them out. So Pioneer – we call him Pi – his mom was hit by a car when he was three weeks old. And then I guess the owner dropped off this litter of four puppies at a high-kill shelter, and then [people from Hoovers Hause] went down and got him. We think he’s like five or six weeks [old], but we have no idea. We have no idea what breed he is.”

The O’Connors have had Pi since the end of March. According to O’Connor, they and their family planned to only foster Pi, though they would get the first option to adopt him.

courtesy Sophie O’Connor
Sophie O’Connor’s puppy, Pioneer, looks up at the camera. O’Connor’s family fostered the dog, eventually deciding to adopt him.

“At first we were very ‘we don’t want another dog’, but he’s very quiet, which is nice, and he’s very cuddly, which our dog Finn is not,” O’Connor said. “Finn is very sweet, but he likes his space, so we kind of like having a cuddly dog.”

According to O’Connor, fostering a young puppy like Pi presents some challenges.

“The first night, my parents decided that his crate should be in my room, and he figured out that he could avoid pooping in his crate at night if he squatted over the edge and pooped on my rug,” O’Connor said. “So I had to clean that up at one in the morning multiple times. Now he sleeps downstairs and he can sleep through the night… it’s like having an infant except you can’t put a diaper on them. Our dog Finn is not sure what to do with the puppy. He’ll try to play with him but he’ll end up like slapping him and [Pi will] fly across the floor. They have a bit of an odd relationship because Finn hasn’t been around a puppy that age since he was that age.”

At the time of the interview, the O’Connors were unsure if they would adopt Pi but were open to the idea. Two days later, they decided to make him part of the family.

O’Connor thinks that finding something interesting to do that is beneficial to the community is a good way to spend time during social isolation.

I’d say do something that is enjoyable but also do something that benefits the community during this time

— Sophie O'Connor, senior

“I’d say do something that is enjoyable but also do something that benefits the community during this time,” O’Connor said. “It doesn’t have to be fostering a puppy, because that’s a big commitment, but even sewing masks and giving them away. Just something that could benefit other people would really make you feel good, and it makes a lot of other people feel good.”

Lydia Winans, junior, has also been engaging in entertaining and useful activities during her time off from school. Winans has been making paper hearts to display for passersby to see.

“My mom found this thing on Facebook for projects to do when we’re not having much to do, so my sister and my mom and I decided to [make hearts] for our neighbors or anyone who walks by, to feel loved during this time,” Winans said. “Some of them are made out of old cards we have, also envelopes that we haven’t used, as well as scrap paper we find around the house.”

Winans has also been making friendship bracelets. She made over 15 bracelets within the first few weeks off from school.

“I’m going to give them to people. When I go back to school, I’m planning on handing them out to friends and stuff like that,” Winans said.

Winans has some advice for others who are bored at this time.

“I would say find your hobbies. For me, I’ve always liked playing the piano… find your hobby,” Winans said.