A welcome surprise to the many issues caused by Covid-19: pet adoption is skyrocketing! No one really saw it coming, but it’s a beautiful problem to have, pet adoption agencies across the country are out of adoptable animals. That’s right, adoption centers are empty.
On California’s Riverside County Instagram page, animal services director, Julie Bank said, “As you can see, we have a completely empty adoption center.” That same news has been echoed from shelters across the country. Chicago Animal Care and Control’s Adoptable Pets program posted on Facebook that the agency had no dogs currently available for adoption.
Record highs in dog and cat adoptions
Animal shelters across the United States from east to west, north to south are reporting record highs in the numbers of animals that have either been adopted or placed in foster homes.
What accounts for the upswing in adoptions? More and more people home either furloughed, laid off or practicing social distancing working from home are realizing that there is no better time than now to adopt a pet. Add to that, the fact that having the unconditional love pets offer is a great stress reliever, something most people could use right now.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said pet fostering has increased by 90 percent in some cities. “Folks who don’t have animals for one reasons or another, because of their work schedule or their travel schedule, that’s all changed right now,” Foster applications is New York are 10 times the usual rate. In nearby Pennsylvania, foster applications have increased from about five per week to as many as 40 a day. To help ease the financial responsibility of adoption, many animal shelters have waived the adoption fees.
Happy pets, healthy people
While animals are certainly benefiting from adoption, humans are also enjoying the many rewards animals offer. The Centers for Disease Control states there are many health benefits of owning a pet, including exercise, socialization, and fresh air.
If that’s not enough, walking and playing with pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, as well as triglyceride levels. Pets can also help reduce loneliness and depression through companionship and the act of giving to another.
According to Sandy Branson, who researches the impact of pets on wellbeing at the University of Texas’ Cizik School of Nursing, says pets may not be able to fill the void that social isolation causes, but they can provide emotional support and reduce anxiety.
“Being socially isolated, you’re at risk for depression and loneliness, and, in older adults, we know loneliness is associated with early death, Alzheimers,” says Branson.
While many pet shelters have seen a surge in adoptions, there are still animals coming in fairly regularly. As many people are finding it difficult to care for their pet simply due to financial strain or illness.
This increase in the number of adoptions simply means there’s more room for other animals. The need for fostering and adopting will continue, so if you considered rescuing now may be the perfect time.