Furry foster animals find new loving homes during coronavirus pandemic

© Ketrin72/Shutterstock

By Dan Myers, The Active Times


Animal Shelters See Uptick in Fostering During Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the daily lives of millions of Americans, with many states ordering their residents to stay home as the number of cases increases. There have been plenty of stories of kindness to come out of this trying time, and many folks are making the most of their newfound time at home by becoming foster parents to dogs and cats from local animal shelters, which are increasingly closing down temporarily in order to ensure the health and safety of their workers.


Thousands apply to foster

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Many are reluctant to adopt animals because of the commitment and all the time spent away from home, but during times like these, fostering is a perfect option. Fostering commitments are usually only for up to a couple months, and bringing in a new pet is a great way to pass the time. According to The New York Daily News, in New York, the Animal Care Centers of NYC hoped that 200 people would come forward to foster animals; more than 1,460 people have signed up. 


Meet Nimue

© Photo courtesy Emily Blonna

Nimue is a 10-week-old French bulldog with hydrocephalus, a condition that causes a swollen head. She was fostered through Road Dogs & Rescue in Southern California, which rescues puppies with birth defects. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.5 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters every year, about 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats.


More volunteers are still needed to foster pets

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Shelter animals in Chicagoland still need homes, according to the Chicago Tribune. Even though physical adoptions and fosters have ended in order to avoid human-to-human contact, virtual training sessions and curbside pickups are being offered by several shelters and PetSmart locations. Many shelters remain filled, however, and are encouraging people to fill out foster applications.


Meet Lucky

© Photo courtesy ARF Harbor Shelter and Christine Connolly

Lucky (left) is 12 years old and was picked up from the ARF Harbor Shelter in San Pedro, California, on March 18. He loves to go for walks and cuddle and is available for adoption. According to the ASPCA, about 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners.


Celebrities are fostering ‘cuddly lil quarantine companions’

© Kathy Hutchins/ Shutterstock

Plenty of celebrities have decided to foster animals during their time indoors, according to The New York Daily News. Celebrities such as “Queer Eye” star Antoni Porowski, “Riverdale” actress Camila Mendes and “Friday Night Lights” star Kyle Chandler and his wife Kathryn have all posted updates to Instagram boasting of their newest animal housemates.


Meet Betsy

© Photo courtesy Humane Society for Greater SAV

This adorable pup was fostered through the Humane Society of Greater SAV, a non-profit, no-kill shelter in Savannah, Georgia. She looks happy to be in her new foster home. According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year: 1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats.


Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriend is getting involved too

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Camila Morrone, Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriend, has also decided to foster two puppies while in quarantine, huskies named Jack and Jill, according to posts on her Instagram page. Perhaps Jack and Rose would have been more appropriate names, inspired by “Titanic.”


Meet Rock

© Photo courtesy Allison Gabbert

This handsome guy is named Rock. According to the American Pet Products Association, just 23% of pet dogs around the country were obtained through an animal shelter or humane society, as opposed to 31% of cats.


This life-saving center got ‘a miracle’

© Photo courtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society runs a network of no-kill shelters around the country and is reporting that the response to its plea for pet foster requests has been “overwhelming.” With shelters closing down, local team members reached out on social media with an urgent request for foster parents, and though they “needed a miracle,” that’s just what they got. For example, in New York City, the response was so overwhelming that interested folks had to be referred to Animal Care Centers of NYC, and at last count, 300 foster homes had signed up.


Meet Daisy

© Photo courtesy Kelly Evans

Yes, cats are being fostered during this time as well. This is Daisy. According to the American Pet Products Association, approximately 46% of cat owners learned about their pet through word of mouth, along with 40% of dog owners.


Some folks are even adopting chickens

© l i g h t p o e t/ Shutterstock

According to the Washington Post, a Sunday adoption event in Gaithersburg, Maryland, that usually results in about 15 adoptions instead found homes for twice as many animals last weekend, and it’s a nationwide trend. But it’s not just dogs and cats that people are adopting. One family in Oviedo, Florida, purchased two chickens to provide eggs and serve as pets.


Briar Fosters

© Image Courtesy Briar Fosters

Kelly runs Briar Fosters, a foster hospice home (or “fospice”) for local shelter animals. For the first time in more than two years, she’s run out of foster animals. “This role means the world to me,” she said.


Shelters are still struggling and need your help

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Rescue groups have been forced to cancel adoption events and fundraisers, and smaller rescue groups with tight budgets are being hit hardest of all, according to The Mercury News. Even if you are unable to foster a pet at this time, shelters and rescue groups are more than willing to accept financial donations.


SNARR Northeast Rescue

© Image courtesy SNARR Northeast

SNARR Northeast Rescue is a rescue and rehabilitation center for special needs animals in White Plains, New York. According to pet adoption database Petfinder.com, special needs pets spend up to four times as long on adoption websites as non-special needs pets.


Fostering a pet benefits everyone

© Photo courtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Fostering an animal doesn’t just improve the life of the dog or cat — having an animal around can also greatly improve the quality of life of the person who adopted it, especially in times like these. For example, interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol and lower blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health. Put simply, having a dog makes you a better person.


Small communities are coming together to foster animals

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The desire to foster animals isn’t just prevalent in big cities. According to The Bakersfield Californian, when Kern County Animal Services in California put out an emergency call for foster homes on social media, the response was overwhelming: 88 pets were placed in temporary homes.


Shelters are bracing for a surge in surrendered pets

© Ryan Simpson/Dreamstime.com

Even though plenty of people are fostering animals, shelters are bracing for a surge in surrendered pets. According to The Morning Call, Lehigh County Humane Society in Allentown, Pennsylvania, expects the economic downturn to translate to pet owners making the difficult decision to surrender their pets as they can no longer afford to feed or care for them.


Interested in fostering a pet?

© Photo courtesy Best Friends Animal Society

There are other benefits to fostering a pet during this time. According to Best Friends Animal Society, temporarily housing a pet prior to it being adopted can help save an animal’s life if the shelter is full, and in the case of a newborn, it can use a little extra TLC that can be in short supply in a shelter.

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