A Reason To Celebrate: Shelter Animals Find Homes Because of Pandemic

Watch as staff at two shelters break into cheers as the last of their pets is adopted.

An incredible and joyful thing is happening across the country, and believe it or not, we have the coronavirus pandemic to thank for it. People are adopting homeless pets from animal shelters in record numbers.

Increased demand for adoptable pets allowed Palm Beach (FL) County Animal Care and Control to completely empty one of their three dog kennels for the first time in their history. The staff celebrated in front of the empty cages and posted the video to their Facebook page:

Riverside County Animal Services in San Jacinto, CA, was also able to empty its shelter. "We cleared the shelter! All of our adoptable animals have been adopted!" the organization said in an Instagram post accompanied by a video of workers wearing face masks and standing next to empty cages. Executive Director Julie Bank thanked the people who made it happen:

The anxiety and isolation of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders appear to be the reason why more people are bringing the comfort and companionship of a pet into their homes. Chicago Animal Care and Control posted on Facebook in early April, "CACC has no dogs currently available for adoption. We've never typed those words before." As of today they had some pets available, but the population is still the lowest in their history.

A few pets are still available for adoption at one Chicago shelter that's experiencing the lowest census in its history.Chicago Animal Care and Control/Facebook

PetPoint, a software program used by shelters nationwide, reported that fostering and adoptions are up 700 percent over last year. At the same time, the number of people surrendering their pets to shelters is down sharply.

Dog breeders also report an increase in demand. In addition to craving companionship, people may also view this as a good time to adopt a pet since they're home and able to give a new animal the extra attention it needs early on. Sparkt CEO Marty Griffin said that influenced the timing of his family's adoption of their Goldendoodle Rosie last month.

Rosie took a shine to Marty right away!

How can you start something good?

If you've been thinking about adding a pet to your family, here are some resources for finding a shelter animal:

Adopt-a-Pet lets you search for your nearest shelter by plugging in your zip code.

Petfinder features pictures and bios of pets available for adoption in shelters near you.

Or simply use your favorite search engine to search "animal shelter near me." You can also use these tools to find a shelter to make a donation if you're not interested in adopting.

As you weigh the pros and cons of bringing a pet into your home, veterinarians say be sure you're ready to make a lifetime committment to the animal. The last thing shelters want is to fill up again with surrendered pets after the coronavirus ends and our lives become busy again!

The Conversation
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