I think all animal lovers can agree that our pets give us a sense of security, comfort, and love–and that’s just on any given “normal” day. During this pandemic, it is without a doubt, a very scary time for us humans and our animals as well.
While many of our beloved companions are absolutely delighted to have their humans working from home, or simply just being home more often than usual, shelter pets are not so lucky.
Your local animal shelter may not be deemed as an “essential” business at this time, and with that being said, many are closed and understaffed for the safety of their volunteers.
Several volunteers at shelters are more than happy to take in some of the animals, but it’s possible that more pets will be surrendered due to financial hardships or other reasons.
Luckily, there are many ways you can help your local animal shelter in these uncertain times, as my family found out! We decided to foster during the pandemic, and here’s our story.
A Foster Fail, Or A Big Success?
My father volunteers at P.A.W.S. animal shelter in Tinley Park, Illinois, and he stepped up to do his part. He’s always been an animal lover, and we always had a dog in the house when I was growing up.
Near the end of March when volunteers were trying to figure out where the adoptable dogs could go, he decided to foster two adorable pups from the shelter! One was a playful, intelligent, and very energetic Australian Shepherd, and the other was a Goldendoodle.
My sister currently has a two-year-old Goldendoodle, so she immediately fell in love with this new puppy, who she later named Bear because of his teddy bear-like appearance.
Needless to say, my family clearly isn’t great with the whole fostering gig! Sometimes you just can’t let a good dog go!
Fostering Helps Dogs Find Their Forever Homes
Due to my mother and younger brother having allergies, they could not keep the Aussie. But we still took care of her and kept a lookout for her new forever home.
My family would take both of the pups for their daily walks around the neighborhood, and the sweet little Aussie ended up catching the eye of a neighbor who already had a Border Collie.
After both dogs met and interacted with each other quite well, the family decided to adopt the Aussie. Best of all, her new family doesn’t live far from her foster family, so she can still visit with her foster humans and foster brother!
Bear, the adorable Goldendoodle, and his siblings came from a breeding situation where ringworm infected the litter of puppies. Rather than treating them, the breeder brought the entire litter of pups to the shelter.
It goes without saying that adopters would have scooped up these three-month-old puppies rather quickly had they not suffered from severe parasite infestations and had substantial hair loss from ringworm. Not to mention, the shelter couldn’t adopt them out since it needed to close to the public.
Luckily, once vets treated the litter, all the puppies found homes as soon as the shelter could provide appropriate social distancing adoptions.
Bear has a heart of gold, is an excellent emotional support dog for my sister, and fits in perfectly with the other pets in the household. Here’s yet another “foster success” story, and it shows why we say, “Adopt! Don’t shop!”
How Can You Foster A Dog During The Pandemic?
Currently, many people are struggling financially and, unfortunately, have to relinquish their pets. And shelters still need to house stray animals that come through their doors.
Some people who may be working from home, live alone, or, like me, have pre-existing health conditions will most likely need to hunker down a bit longer, so having a dog at home for companionship is extremely beneficial.
The first step you can take is by contacting your local animal shelters and rescues to see if they need foster homes for any of their dogs. Luckily, at the particular shelter we used, plenty of foster families have welcomed adoptable dogs into their homes.
Pets can get just as stressed as we can during these uncertain and unfamiliar times, so maintaining some sense of structure and normalcy is important. Once you bring a foster dog home, good luck not falling in love!
It’s always important to let the dog become familiar with your family, home, and other pets if you have any before you commit to fostering. Depending on the dog’s previous situation, they may need some time to adjust.
However, these dogs will be forever grateful to be welcomed into your home, and now more than ever. Even though you may be the one who’s helping to care for a foster dog, it’s highly likely that they’ll help you just as much in this world we’re living in.
Dogs have always been there for us in our time of need, and I believe it’s time we do the same for them.
Can’t Foster? Shelters Also Need Supplies And Donations!
If you can’t foster a dog, you can still help your local shelters and rescues out!
Right now, many animal shelters are still in need of supplies such as blankets, dog and cat food, newspapers, and monetary donations to help provide veterinary care for these animals.
You can check on each individual animal shelter’s websites to see a wish list of what each shelter needs right now. Make sure you check with the shelter and call ahead before you bring in your items.
If you’d like, you can also make a donation to P.A.W.S. here!
How have you helped out your local animal shelter? Are you fostering a dog during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments section below!