The world has drastically changed due to COVID-19. Health care workers are putting their lives on the line every day taking care of COVID-19 patients. Most people are staying home. As a result, more people than ever before are fostering and adopting companion animals. People who thought they didn’t have time to help an animal in need now have more time as the world shifts almost entirely online. Shelters are offering online live adoption events since they can no longer welcome visitors through their doors. Shelters have had to get creative in how they let the public know what animals are for adoption since people are no longer able to physically enter through the shelter door and form a connection with the animals. Video conferences, live streams, and social media are being utilized. Many shelters have had great success by relying on the internet more than they ever have. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with others and it’s hard to bypass the cute pictures and stories on animals when scrolling through your social media accounts.
Companion animals provide many great health benefits to humans. However, before making the decision to adopt a companion animal during the current global crises, make sure that when life returns back to “normal” (or to a new normal) you are still able to provide sufficient care. For some who are unsure of how much care they will be able to provide when they go back to work, fostering may be a great option. Fostering allows people to welcome an animal into their home to help that animal and relieve the shelter environment and open the space for more animals and without a long-term commitment. When the situation returns to normal, if an individual finds he or she is no longer able to provide sufficient care, the animal can be adopted out to a new family. Since being fostered in a home the animals will be better adjusted and cared for and their true personalities can shine through, without the stresses of living in a shelter which can be very stressful and changing their personalities, making the animals more adoptable. Some people may find that even when they are no longer home 24/7, they can still welcome an animal into their home and provide outstanding care.
Fostering during troubling times like the global crises, we are currently facing helps both the animals and humans. The companion animal is able to adjust to life in a house or an apartment and is able to receive more one on one attention and care from their foster parent. This makes it more likely that the cat or dog can be successfully adopted. Having an animal companion also greatly benefits human’s health. Animals help ease human anxiety and provide companionship when many people are in isolation alone. Monitoring your mental health and taking steps to keep yourself healthy during trying times is vital. Getting outside for walks with a dog can be beneficial to human health. Also, pets offer many psychological benefits. Companion animals reduce depression, ward off loneliness, lower incidence of psychological disease, lessen the need for medications, and provide a sense of purpose. The world currently is collectively going through a traumatic event. Pets help people overcome individual trauma. Physically pets lower blood pressure, reduce stress, lower incidence of heart disease, and lower overall healthcare costs. Companion animals make people both happier and healthier.
So, if you have been thinking about adopting a companion animal for a while, now may be the perfect opportunity to do so. If you are unsure if you will be able to devote enough time to an animal once the world goes back to “normal”, fostering is a great option. It will add some light to your life during these trying times and help both you and an animal in need. Please check out your local shelters for available animals to adopt that need homes or foster parents. You can also check out animal rescues. You might fall in love with your new furry best friend.