In my small New York City apartment, it’s a tight fit right now: two rescue pit bulls, a toddler, and my husband all coexisting and trying to get our work done (not so much the dogs and the toddler). But it’s been comforting to snuggle up with the dogs at the end of a long day of simultaneous childcare and work responsibilities.
While the city struggles to manage the coronavirus outbreak and folks are stuck at home, it looks like New Yorkers are figuring out what a lot of us already know—animals are great company.
There’s been a huge surge in folks fostering dogs and cats. Some shelters are literally out of animals to foster.
Muddy Paws Rescue and Best Friends Animal Society are reporting shelters they work with are either all out of or almost out of cats and dogs after a surge in applications in the past two weeks. Animal Haven is turning down applications because they no longer need fosters.
“For the moment we definitely don’t have any dogs left to match with foster volunteers,” said Anna Lai, the marketing director at Muddy Paws. “Which is a great problem to have.”
In disease hotspots like California, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said its Los Angeles office saw a 70% increase in animals going to fosters.
“We’re seeing people show up in droves to foster,” said Julie Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends.
While it’s exciting that so many shelter dogs and cats are getting an opportunity to snuggle up with a human companion, rescue organizations are also cognizant that as folks lose their jobs or become overwhelmed, pets might be surrendered. Shelters may be asked to take in more animals than they have space for.
“We’re doing whatever we can to empty all of our shelter facilities,” said Lisa LaFontaine, chief executive officer of the Humane Rescue Alliance, which has adoption centers in the District of Columbia and New Jersey. “We don’t know what’s going to happen when the economic wave starts hitting.”
If you’re lonely and looking for a snuggly friend, there are so many shelters still looking to empty their spaces. It’s the perfect time to foster a pet, so go for it.