Unless you’re an introvert, social distancing during our current crisis, can be quite difficult to endure. Those who can adapt will find it a time to try new things, catch up on some reading, take an online course, or enjoy immersing themselves in a video game or two. However, for those who find this a harsh winter to endure, then know that all is not lost. Indeed, those who yearn for companionship, cuddles and caring, can find all that and more, right in their own town at the local animal shelter.
Is it a Good Idea to Adopt During the Lockdown?
Yes. The COVID-19 lockdown may be the best time to add a new, furry friend to your life. According to Marketwatch.com, animal shelters around the country are seeing a sharp increase in the number of pets being adopted. So by adopting a dog, you’ll be helping yourself deal with the current crisis, helping the shelter, and giving a dog a second chance at a new life. All of this is terrific news for shelters, who are often overflowing with unwanted pets to the point where they must euthanize them. The ASPCA states that there are around 6.5 million pets that find their way into U.S. animal shelters each year, with around 1.5 million being euthanized, with only 3.2 million getting adopted. So, when it comes down to it, and your eager to create a lifelong bond with that special dog, now is the absolute best time to adopt, or if you cannot adopt, foster.
Fostering versus Adoption
What if you don’t have time for a dog in your life, or perhaps you’ve never owned a dog, but would like to try one out for size? Then the answer for you is simple: Foster a dog. For those new to the idea, fostering a dog simply means that you’re taking that dog home with you, while the shelter continues to put it on a list as ready for adoption. The shelter will place the dog on their page of adoptable pets, and if someone shows interest, you return the dog. Once that dog is adopted, you’re ready to take home another one. Fostering dogs helps the shelter out immensely, as it frees up space for newcomers. it also is a great way to see if you’re into keeping a dog or not. Actually, since the pandemic took root, and more and more people were staying inside, some animal shelters have been getting pretty creative when it comes to fostering. Take Kern County Animal Services, in California, when faced with the possibility of having more dogs than they knew what to do with, they went to social media to announce a pet fostering drive-thru event. Initially, they had no idea what would happen, but fortunately for them, it was a resounding success. In a matter of days, they had over 80 dogs fostered out.
Americans Rise to the Occasion
Originally, animal shelters across America were fearful. They assumed that as a result of COVID-19, people would be surrendering their pets in unprecedented numbers, as they did in China. Instead, Americans rose to the occasion and began raiding shelters across the country, in order to adopt or foster a pet. To encourage this, many shelters across the country are reducing adoption fees, or eliminating them altogether. As Marketwatch.com reports, the Lollypop Farm shelter, located in New York had 50 pets adopted after they eliminated the fees, with around 20 going to foster care.
Breed Rescue Organizations
If you have your heart set on a specific breed, fear not, for there are hundreds and hundreds of breed rescue organizations across the country. What is a breed rescue? A breed rescue differs from an animal shelter, in that they only deal with one particular breed of dog. For instance, people who realize that a boxer dog is a bit too much to handle, but they really love that dog and want it to find a good home, will take it to a breed rescue instead of a shelter. Breed rescues are operated by people who are serious about finding good homes for their favorite breed, and in general, never euthanize. Instead, they just keep the dogs happy, fed and sheltered, until someone comes for them. If you’d like to check out some breed rescues in your area, the AKC listing is a good place to start. However, their list is not comprehensive, so if you don’t see what you’re looking for, you can try Adopt a Pet or Petfinder.
Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
Living through a pandemic is stressful enough, but the lack of social contact many feel may accentuate the problem. That’s where owning a dog comes in, as dog ownership offers people emotional, psychological and health benefits. According to Scientific Reports, owning a dog is beneficial for your health. Dogs that are treated as a member of the family aid in the reduction of stress, premature death from cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure as well as providing relief from emotional stress for those suffering from anxiety. Dog ownership comes with such a bevy of benefits, from helping you get off the couch and going for a walk to a way of teaching your children how to love, that it can only increase your overall health and well-being. .
In point of fact, Harvard Medical School produced a special report titled, Get Healthy, Get a Dog, which delved deep into the bond that dog and owners share, and how that bond can lead to a longer, healthier and stress-free life. The study also brings to light lifestyle changes for both owner and dog, which can have a positive effect on the bond they share. They even show the reader how to adopt a dog, and elaborate on the commitment that is involved.
What if I Can’t Adopt or Foster?
That’s easily answered. Animal shelters across the country get a good part of their assistance from those who volunteer or others who drop off supplies. If you’re sitting at home, want to help but have no idea how, you can see if any shelters in your area have a need for volunteers. If they happen to be full of volunteers, you can still assist by donating money. Also, check to see if shelters have wish lists on Amazon. Many do, so you can see what they need, and have it shipped out right from your home. Another great way to assist your favorite organization, is to download the ResQwalk app. Here, all you need do is walk, and by doing so, you raise funds.