By Emily Pham
In the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, fortunate homeless animals from shelters have been able to find new homes as hundreds of people have stepped up to rescue and take care of them. At this point, some shelters have even been completely empty as families opened their hearts and homes to care for many of the adoptable pets in the community. Shelters, rescue groups, and others continue to work in hopes to provide love and care for the animals in need during this difficult time. With many animals waiting to be matched with a temporary or forever home, one can find a little someone to cuddle with during quarantine with a few simple and safe ways.
As people around the world are urged to stay at home, many may find themselves lonely and isolated as they play their part in social distancing. However, a dog or cat can bring so much to one’s life. In fact, there are many mental benefits for pet owners during this stressful and difficult time, especially when one has little contact with the outside world. Junior Allison Parra explained, “During this time, people can gain an emotional connection with a pet and feel as if they are always on their side. Dogs [and other pets] are so joyful and being with them can definitely uplift a person’s mood. . .It really helps to have a pet when you are feeling lonely or sad.” Simply spending time or setting up a daily exercise routine with one’s pet reduces students’ stress level and even takes away the feeling of anxiety and worries. Junior Sierra Hennessey stated, “During quarantine, I walk her [German Shepherd Lab Mix] around the park so she can get her exercise. . .[Also,] having a pet can help people be more calm and happy during this time [since] it also gives you great companionships when you are alone and need someone to be there with you.” Although it may be tempting to adopt or foster a pet to keep one company when one is confined indoors for most of the time, one must think ahead once the lockdown is over on whether or not they will be able to give the pet proper exercise as well as attention. From paying for vet bills and pet food, which can be pricey, one should consider financial setbacks that may be affected by the chaotic outbreak. With some families struggling with financial problems or unsure of adding a member to the family, they can consider fostering a pet for two weeks rather than adopting. In fact, this can be a fun and educational experience for first-time pet owners.
With all of the new adjustments to help the world through the chaotic pandemic, some may wonder how to adopt and prepare for a new pet without crossing social distancing rules. If one is looking to adopt or foster, Animal Friends of the Valley, Freedom Rescue, and Mini Mutts N Meows are great places to start to see which available pets will suit the family. Most rescue groups and shelters have been using new methods to keep everyone safe such as virtual interviews with home visits as well. Once finished filling out all the paperwork and application, it is time to prepare for the newest addition to the family’s arrival by making sure everything is in place to make the pet feel right at home. Most rescue groups and shelters have created new procedures to safely bring the pet home such as wearing face coverings and gloves. Afterward, it is recommended to introduce one’s pet to new experiences, other family members, and objects in a positive way. Parra added, “For those first time adopters, make sure you take it easy on them and gain their trust first. Also, just play with them and love them.” Overall, adopting or fostering a loving animal can be an exciting and new experience which can clear the mind of the unsettling crisis.
With dozens of rescue groups and volunteer organizations in the community continuing to help these animals find a temporary or forever home during this chaotic time, it has truly made a difference and impact among families and students. Those who cannot add a pet to the family due to financial struggles or other problems can still help out by providing shelters with donations. Dozens of animals are currently struggling to get by as they try to find a loving family while barely having any food or love, but every contribution will make a difference in their lives. If one is interested in adopting or fostering, it is recommended that they visit websites of local shelters and rescue groups for more information.
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