COVID-19 has affected an unprecedented amount of lives this year, but not all of them have been in a negative way. When COVID-19 first reared its head in the U.S., a shutdown forced many businesses to close their doors and keep their employees home. This included pounds, shelters and adoption centers filled with animals that had no place to go.
However, since stay-at-home orders began in March of 2020, pet foster care went up by 70% in programs from Los Angeles to New York compared to last year. It was amazing, people stepped up and offered to save these animals. Or was it the animals that saved people?
Since the stay-at-home orders, many Americans have reported feeling depressed or anxious with the lack of physical and human interaction. Whether they were working from home or unemployed due to the shutdowns, no one wanted to be stuck alone.
Cat and dog companions have been proven to reduce stress and help establish a routine. The feeling of having a companion and someone that relies on you can help give meaning to one’s life.
Caring for a pet is not as intense as a child, and it is better than a sibling or roommate in some cases.
If you are interested in fostering or adopting, shelters are stepping up and creating innovate ways to get cats and dogs adopted in a safe way for everyone involved. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Zoom have become a “Tinder meets a video dating service, but for a four-legged soulmate.”
You can search through what seems like a catalog of furry friends online, complete with their characteristics and for some their best environment to be happy (active dogs do best with big backyards and active lifestyles, couch potato dogs fare better in an apartment or with elderly people.) Then, you can Zoom your new buddy and schedule a drop-off when you have made your decision.
Thousands of animals have found their forever homes, creating a silver lining in the pandemic, but adoption is still not the best option for everyone.
Be sure to assess your situation. Stay-at-home orders won’t last forever. You will likely be back to work at one point, the kids will eventually go back to school and life will resume.
For people in these situations that want a companion but cannot provide and a proper environment forever, you can foster. To foster is to temporarily provide a home for an animal until they get adopted into their forever home.
There is a lot going on right now and it can be hard to find a reason to smile, but these catastrophes have the ability to bring out the best in humanity, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing.