The spread of the coronavirus has made things difficult for countless people. Sadly, animals also suffer during a widespread pandemic. People stop visiting shelters as they must practice social distancing and stay home. Adoption events have been canceled. But animals still get admitted to shelters as usual.
Nationwide, animal shelters risk overcrowding, which can obviously have negative results. During a pandemic, owner surrenders go up. Potential illness and quarantine measures could lead to staff shortages as well.
Eric Rayvid, a spokesperson for Best Friends Animal Society, explained to Huffington Post why animal shelters could use our help now.
“If it’s a large-scale shelter and you have a skeletal staff, that’s just going to be that much more of a burden for those folks to have. The less animals that are there, the better work environment for [staff] and the better for the animals.”
Help Out By Fostering A Dog
Shelters all across the country have issued pleas for foster parents. Alisha Vianello, Program Director at Gateway Pet Guardians in St. Louis, said the focus is on getting as many animals out of shelters as possible.
“We expect our intake to increase and adoptions to slow down, which is a predictable pattern that occurs any time people feel uncertain. And with people following the social distancing recommendations from the CDC, we are seeing less volunteers coming in to help care for the pets in our shelter.”
If you’ve ever been discouraged from adopting a dog because you spend too much time away from home, now’s your chance. You don’t even need to make the relationship permanent. Fostering an animal lets them get out of the shelter and live in a home until someone can officially adopt them.
Living in a shelter for too long can negatively impact a dog’s well-being. Foster homes allow these dogs to thrive and also create more room in shelters for other dogs to get off the street. What’s more, animals can reduce stress, which certainly could help right now.
Thankfully, people have really shown kindness during this unprecedented pandemic, Rayvid noted.
“We’re in really uncertain times right now, and one of the things that we’re seeing is that the animal welfare community is really pulling together. It’s really nice to see everyone banding together to help.”
If you’re able to foster, you can use the Best Friends Animal Society’s database of shelters in need of foster families. Or, just contact your local shelter. Odds are they need help right now!
Can Dogs Get COVID-19?
As of now, there isn’t any evidence suggesting dogs can contract the virus or pass the infection on to people.
Still, as an extra precaution, the CDC recommends anyone who is sick avoid unnecessary physical contact with animals, just like they would people. And of course, wash your hands regularly and keep them off your face. Hopefully, more information about the virus becomes available soon.
Pass this along to anyone who could use a furry friend to cuddle with this month! If you can’t foster a dog, you might be able to help out by donating to help support shelters. This is a stressful time, but if we all work together we will get through this.