Coronavirus causes increase in pet fostering and adoptions

Kingston, a recently adopted West Highland Terrier. (Eryka Forquer/ Lariat)

Shelter and rescue organizations across the United States are experiencing an increase in pet fostering and adoptions since the coronavirus lockdown took hold. With people confined to their homes, human interaction has become limited. Having a pet helps fill that void and provides the companionship that so many are desperate to find.  

Whether you are isolated all by your lonesome or with wearisome family members, keeping your sanity during these unprecedented times is of the utmost importance. Amid the lockdown, a stir-crazy nation has discovered that the secret to not going insane is through the love and affection of four-legged creatures.    

“My dog just always keeps me sane,” said Isabella Hale, student at Saddleback College. “I know I can just always spend time with him, especially when my family is bothering me or driving me crazy.”  

A new edition to the household can ease stress and anxiety while also diverting focus away from the chaos in the world. 

“Working at the hospital can be really stressful during this time,” said Alyssa Garcia, a nursing student at Saddleback College. “I love coming home and just hugging my dog, it always makes everything a little better.”  

Kingston, a 1-year-old West Highland White Terrier, was recently placed at a home in Orange County, where the family has noticed the positive impact that he has made in a short amount of time. Similar to other pets, Kingston has made his home a little brighter and added some more love.  

With relatively 6.5 million animals entering shelters nationwide each year, shelters were faced with new concerns over staffing and space as social distancing protocols began to take place. However, organizations have found placements for many of their animals and continue to receive an influx of applications.  

Like many other businesses, animal shelters have had to make adjustments during this time. Some have used social media to pair animals with potential owners and others are making free space in the event that people fall sick and are unable to care for their pets. The non-profit organization American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is working with New York and other highly impacted areas to offer support and help animal welfare. 

Although shelters are welcoming the surge in adoptions and people’s generosity, the instability caused by the pandemic is concerning for them. Organizations fear that once restrictions lift and the crisis lessens, pets will be neglected and returned to shelters. Animals are not a temporary responsibility, they will continue to need attention and care.     

The solidity of shelters and organizations is also at risk. Many of these places run off of donations and fundraising, both of which are unreliable sources of income. Many people are facing financial uncertainties as jobs continue to become endangered.  

Fostering or adopting a pet is easy on the wallet and can help people stay active and healthy during a time when it matters the most.