by Caitlin Jill Anders: It’s simple and it can save a life…
As concerns over the coronavirus continue to grow, many places are considering closing to minimize the spread of the virus. For some businesses it’s not much of an inconvenience, as people can work from home — but what about animal shelters? Shelters rely on employees and volunteers, and they’ll need a lot of help caring for animals if they’re unable to come to work.
So, how can you help?
The biggest thing you can do right now to help the animals in your community is offer to foster for your local shelter or rescue. As the virus spreads, most people aren’t jumping to make a new lifelong commitment, which means that adoptions are probably going to go down while the number of animals in shelters and rescues will continue to increase. Shelters are going to be swamped, so if you’re able, offering to foster for the next several weeks is such a huge and important way to help.
Everyone is being advised to avoid crowds as much as possible during this time, so if you’re already spending more time at home as it is, why not spend that time with a dog or cat in need?
Finding a pet to foster is as easy as googling “foster a pet” and the name of your city or state. That should take you to at least one nearby shelter or organization who can use your help. Signing up to foster a pet is usually easy and straightforward. Almost every shelter and rescue has a foster program, so all you need to do is go to their website or give them a call to get started. Every program is different, and there may be a few steps you need to take before you’re good to go, but most places are so eager for fosters that the process shouldn’t take long.
There are, of course, a few things to consider before deciding to foster. Make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need to care for your foster pet for an extended period of time, and think about how your foster pet may impact the other pets in your house and vice versa. Don’t agree to foster if it’s not something that will realistically work for you — but if you are in a position to foster, then it’s absolutely the best thing you can do to help right now.
Fostering takes a lot of the pressure off of shelters and rescues during this time and also gives a shelter animal a safe place to stay for a while — and in return, that shelter pet will give you so much love and will make every moment worth it.