From the Orlando Sentinel
Number of sources: Four
Word Count: 890
Date of Publication: June 1, 2017
Some dogs like to play fetch. Others like to go for walks. But Kristen Edmonds’ puppy, Jersey, rides skateboards.
“My brother actually got me a motorized skateboard for my birthday, so like after training, when I’m dead tired but I still have to run her around … I’ll just take her out,” said Edmonds, a starting midfielder for the Orlando Pride. “I’ll stand on the skateboard, she’ll either hop on with me or she’ll just run next to it, so I get her energy out a little bit.”
A few months ago, Edmonds didn’t realize Jersey was going to become such a big part of her life. When they first met, she was just a six-week old pit-bull mix with tan fur and bright eyes. Jersey needed to be fostered before she could be adopted.
Edmonds was preparing for the Orlando Pride’s season and volunteering with the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. She agreed to foster Jersey and her three brothers for a few weeks. Taking care of four puppies is a big responsibility, but Edmonds couldn’t resist.
“I got the email and I was like, ‘Oh my god, they’re only six weeks old,’” she said. “When I went into the shelter, I saw them and I was like, ‘It’s game over.’”
Edmonds was planning to get a dog later this season, but Jersey just stood out to her from the start.
Despite becoming attached to Jersey so quickly, Edmonds was still hesitant about adopting her. She was the trouble maker of the group, being the first to climb out of the area they were kept in and starting fights with her siblings.
“I think it’s ’cause she was a girl with all her brothers so she had to stick up for herself,” Edmonds said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know, she might be bad,’ and she is bad, but she’s just a puppy and she’s awesome.”
In the end, Edmonds couldn’t resist. When the three-week fostering period was over, she decided to hold onto her.
“I wound up keeping a puppy, so I’m a foster fail,” she said, laughing.
Since joining the Orlando Pride last season, volunteering to help dogs has become a big part of Edmonds’ and roommate Jasmyne Spencer’s free time. When they played together for the Western New York Flash, they volunteered for a local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
After coming to Orlando, Spencer found out about the pet alliance and they decided to try out volunteering there.
“It’s for a good cause,” Spencer said. “Kris loves dogs and I hope one day to be a vet, so it’s just something we love to do.”
After lots of volunteering, Edmonds became eligible to begin fostering. Before taking in Jersey and her brothers, she had also fostered an eight-week old puppy last year.
“How can you not fall in love with a six week old puppy? I mean come on,” Edmonds said.
“It’s easier for them, ’cause they’re so young, to be in like a home environment instead of in, like, a little cage,” Edmonds said. “They get to be around people a lot earlier.”
Volunteering frequently is a lot of work, especially for a professional athlete. Edmonds’ teammates, many of whom have owned dogs, are impressed with the effort she and Spencer have put in. They are known for their infectious energy on the pitch and bring that same joy to the work they do with dogs.
“She and Jasmyne have been very active in that community and giving back and I think that that’s pretty awesome,” Maddy Evans said. “I think it’s neat that they’re able to do that and it’s neat that now her dog that she was fostering is now in a forever home.”
Coach Tom Sermanni is one of the few people connected to the Orlando Pride who doesn’t own a dog, but that hasn’t stopped him from appreciating what Edmonds is doing. He loves to see his players get involved in the community.
“It kind of shows the type of character that we’ve got in this team,” he said. “Our players do innumerable things in the community. …I just think that’s one of the great things about working with this group of players is that they’re not just soccer players, but they’re a fantastic group of people.”
With the Pride in the middle of their season and chasing a much-needed home win Sunday against the Boston Breakers, Edmonds has had to take a break from fostering puppies.
Even taking care of just Jersey can be a challenge with so many road trips on the Pride’s schedule, but finding someone to watch her while the team is travelling hasn’t been tough.
“There’s a ton of people who always want to take her. I mean, who doesn’t want to babysit a puppy? So basically, whoever wants her gets her and she has a little vacation weekend,” Edmonds said.
Despite her busy schedule, Edmonds is looking forward to fostering more puppies once she has time and is thrilled that she made the decision to keep Jersey.
“She’s just a great dog to just have around,” she said. “If I have a bad day, just go home and it’s instant happiness when you walk in the door.”