Caring for Tilly and Tamale During the Pandemic

Lucia at home in Hawaii with her rescue dog, Tilly

In Hawaii, there are more than 500 cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. On the island of Oahu, where I live, my community is under a stay-at-home order.

All parks and beaches are closed. There also are travel restrictions in place, even for people traveling between the Hawaiian Islands. 

The pandemic is resulting in severe economic losses for Hawaii because there are no tourists. My family is coping with the stay-at-home order by cooking, going for walks, doing arts and crafts, and talking with friends. My sisters, Raeanna, 15, and Parisa, 13, and I are doing our schoolwork online. 



We’re also playing with and training our rescue dog, Tilly, and our foster cat, Tamale. Although Tilly was seven months old when we adopted her from Kaaawa K9 Rescue, she had not been trained and had no manners. She was anxious and would not make eye contact.

Tilly ran around aimlessly, not listening to us. She jumped, nipped, and scratched us when she was excited or uncomfortable. She was frightened of most animals and nervous around strangers. We practiced training Tilly every day. But she continued her bad behavior and ignored our commands. 

My mom decided to consult with a professional dog trainer, Katrina (Katie) Lente of Kaneohe. Lente helped Tilly learn to listen and gain confidence. She also taught our family how to better communicate with and train Tilly. “Working off energy and working the brain makes Tilly a tired and happy girl,” Lente told us.

Now, Tilly can accompany us anywhere and behave. To maintain Tilly’s new manners, Lente told each of us to take turns training Tilly each day. After three months with us, Tilly is content in her new home and understands that we are her family.


Lucia has found a forever home for her foster cat, Tamale.


In March, my family started to foster a two-year old cat named Tamale. We got Tamale from the Hawaiian Humane Society. As the days pass, Tamale gets more social and comfortable living with us.

Unfortunately, after bringing Tamale home, we discovered that he could not be around Tilly. Tamale rushes at and scratches Tilly out of fear, leaving Tilly hurt and scared.

We keep Tilly and Tamale in separate rooms at all times, unless one of us is watching both of them. While Tilly was initially difficult to train and take care of, Tamale did not require a lot of work from the start, due to his calm and easygoing personality.

Tamale is a lovable cat. We recently found a forever home for him, and I was sad to say goodbye.



We adopted Tilly and are fostering Tamale because there are a lot of stray and abandoned animals in Hawaii. According to the Hawaiian Humane Society’s website, the organization helps more than 20,000 animals a year on Oahu. It is one of many animal-rescue organizations on the island.

Now that we’ve found a forever home for Tamale, we took in a new dog, “Bunny.” 

My family felt that we had the love and time to give a home to animals in need. Not only has adopting and fostering animals benefited the animals, but Tilly and Tamale have brought a lot of love and joy into our household.


Photos courtesy of the author