As COVID-19 upends modern life and people are urged to stay home, there’s a bright spot for pets seeking a furrever home.
“We’re seeing an 80% increase in foster applications. It’s a wonderful time to foster.” Says Jessica Davis, of Rock and Roll Rescues in Los Angeles. “People are lonely and with the thought of being locked in your home for a month or more, people want a companion.”
It helps shelters too because many of them are cutting back to reduced staff so those people can stay safe.
EMERGENCY FOSTERS NEEDED
Shelters around the country put out emergency pleas for temporary care givers in recent weeks. Davis says, “We put up information on our social media pages letting people know how they can help.”
It worked. “Usually, we have a hard time finding fosters.” But with so many people home more people are able to help. She pegs their foster application have increased by as much as 80%.
Davis says the LA County shelters normally sends her lists of at-risk animals. “We focus on the ones most vulnerable. Usually, they have medical conditions.” She said she’d received a call from a shelter requesting she take a pair of neo-natal kittens. These are tiny kittens who’ve lost their mothers.
Davis says, “They’re tiny and vulnerable and require bottle-feeding. We were able to place those kittens in an awesome foster.”
Animals bring companionship anytime but are especially welcome during times of stress. Fur friends offer a sounding board, a snuggle partner, and in the case of dogs, regular walks in the fresh air. In fact, in some areas, dog walking offers a reprieve from spending most of one’s time at home because it’s on the short list of acceptable reasons to leave the house.
Animals also help you maintain a routine. Every dog owner knows that a dog needs at least 3 outings a day and they’ll let you know when it’s “time.” A routine helps you be more productive and stay calm because you know what to expect.
Jack Griffin, Director of Shelter Services of the Women’s Animal Shelter in Bensalem, PA., says, their applications are up too. “We had four animals get fostered today. This week alone we had 30 applications come in.”
Griffin says once people fill out the online application, shelter staff review them to find a good match. Then people can schedule an appointment to come in and meet the animals.”
Alicia Vial, the Communications Director for the Louisiana SPCA in New Orleans, La., says they’ve fostered 81 pets in recent days. Additionally, she says, “We’re working on a pet food distribution program for struggling pet owners.”
She adds that any members of the local hospitality industry who are struggling to keep their pets should call them directly.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN FOSTERING ANIMALS DURING COVID-19?
If you think you’re ready to foster, yay! The shelters need you. But before you rush off to your nearest shelter’s foster application, be prepared to answer questions about your home environment and your pet experience. This is especially true if you’re considering fostering an animal with some behavioral or medical issues.
Also, be aware that shelters around the country are holding reduced hours. Some are interviewing prospective fosters via video and scheduling curbside pickup for transportation.
Would you consider fostering animals during COVID-19?
Denver locals: The Dumb Friends League is looking for Fosters during this time. Click here to learn more about fostering a pet.