Americans absolutely love their pets, that's for sure. While pets of all kinds are welcomed in our hearts, there are two that top that list. I am talking about cats and dogs. When we think about the most common and beloved pets, it is hard not to think about our feline and canine friends.
Our intense love for cats and dogs can also be a problem. There are many dogs and cats out there who are breeding when they shouldn't be. When cats and dogs have kittens and puppies, there isn't always a guarantee that they will find good homes, no matter how adorable they are.
It can be difficult to find good homes for pets, which is why shelters are needed. Shelters aren't capable of holding animals for a long time, which can result in euthanization. Luckily, there is one good thing that has come from the corona virus sweeping the United States: more pets are being fostered.
Axel Evensen is a 17 year old who was on track for his best year in school ever. His mom, Jill Evensen, told today, “this has been his best and happiest year of school. It was a lot to lose all at once.” Then tragedy struck the world. The coronavirus became a pandemic and stay-at-home orders were made in certain areas across the country, including California where Axel lives.
Jill Evensen knew she would need to find something positive for her family to do with their time to keep their spirits high. “Sometimes helping somebody else is the best way to make yourself feel better.” That is what led Axel to decide to foster a dog. They emailed the OC Animal Care facility in Tustin, California and had an adorable Chihuahua in their home the next day.
Axel and his new dog bonded right away. As he told TODAY, “he's very attached to me. It's definitely something fun to keep my mind off things.” Axel is one of many who has turned to fostering a pet during the coronavirus pandemic. People are using foster pets as a way to cope with having to distance socially from peers, as well as to keep their minds off of things like in Axel's case.
To compare how much pet fostering has increased during the pandemic, the nonprofit Best Friends Animal Society looked at data from 1,200 animal welfare organizations and found that there was a 93% increase in fostering since the same week last year. “In the last week or two, shelters have come up with innovative plans to continue lifesaving, like virtual meet-and-greets by webcam and online meeting platforms like Skype, appointment-only fosters and adoptions and curbside pickup of pets.”
Different animal shelters have found creative ways to stay safe while handing pets over to new homes, and interesting ways to market them. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa held an event called Social Distancing Sidekicks that let people name their price to adopt the pet. The SPCA of Wake County in North Carolina live streamed all their adoptable pets. Friends of Detroit Animal Care and Control started shutting shelter pets safely to their new homes in something called the “cuddle shuttle.”
Matt Bershadker, the president American Society for the PRevention of Cruelty to Animals, gave this response and statistics, “In recent weeks there has been an incredible response from people looking to temporarily foster animals during this difficult time, and we have seen a nearly 70 percent increase in animals going into foster care through our New York City and Los Angeles foster programs, compared to the same time period in 2019.”