Schools are closed, restaurants are closed, gatherings are limited, and many people are avoiding public places altogether — life as we know it has changed dramatically over the last few days thanks to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Unfortunately, animal shelters and rescues have also been impacted by the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Shelters Temporarily Closing
Due to requests from officials that Americans practice social distancing to reduce the spread of the virus, many cities across the country have basically shut down. Animal shelters and rescues are operating with a reduced workforce and some have had to close to the public or cancel events. It’s likely that many more will need to do so as more cities take steps to slow down the virus, which would halt pet adoptions, and possibly prevent new animals from coming in. The closures would also mean shelter pets will have fewer interactions with people.
Help by Fostering
Those of us that are already spending more time at home may be able to help during coronavirus quarantines. Shelters across the country are urging animal lovers to foster while practicing social distancing. They are hoping to reduce the strain on pets, and their facilities, by moving as many animals as possible out of shelters and into foster homes. Fostering a pet typically means temporarily bringing an adoptable pet into your home while he or she waits for a more permanent home. Foster parents help prevent overcrowding in shelters, and can be especially helpful for animals that are stressed out or need special care.
Consider Pet Adoption
If you are able to take in a pet permanently and live near a shelter or rescue that is still accepting adoption applications, right now is a perfect time to bond with a new pet. Since many of us are working from home, or have had to stop working altogether, there is more time available to train a new pet and really enjoy the early days of pet ownership. Studies have also shown that pets can lower stress levels, so a new puppy or cat may even help reduce some of the anxiety most of us are feeling.
You can find an organization near you by searching through our site. Official announcements about the COVID-19 are changing rapidly so it is a good idea to call ahead and to find out if your local shelter is still open. If the shelters and rescues near you are no longer accepting adopters or fosters, you can also donate or contact a food bank to see if they are taking supplies.