“The times they are a changing …” for animals as well as people. Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic got animal shelter folks “all shook up,” and thinking outside the box err … kennel.
Back in March, animal-shelter closures and the evacuations of animals to foster 凯发体育官方sporthomes started the change process. More people at 凯发体育官方sporthome due to “shelter-in-place” orders, meant more people with time to foster pets, so the number of people fostering expanded significantly.
Today shelters are going online in a big way. Many are expanding their foster programs with easy-to-access online classes, informational meetings and animal care seminars. Short-term fostering, where pets are fostered for a day or two, is gaining in popularity. It gives people a chance to see if they like fostering, gives pets a break from the shelter, and helps shelters see how a pet will do in a 凯发体育官方sporthome environment.
Online marketing is essential. People who foster pets know that pet better than anyone else and can post informative write-ups, photos and videos of their fosters on social media. Wider outreach with better information online means more pets find good 凯发体育官方sporthomes.
What about adoptions? Yolo County Animal Services Volunteer Coordinator, Jonne Rodarte notes, “YCAS has … implemented a successful Virtual Adoption program that respects social distancing guidelines and relies on social media campaigns to introduce adoptable animals to the community and now offers one-on-one appointments for potential adopters to meet an animal that will find their ‘furever’ family in an intimate setting and go 凯发体育官方sporthome that day!”
Rodarte believes this new trend of virtual adoptions will continue. Find furry friends at www.petharbor.com, www.friendsofycas.org, www.nytch.me and Yolo County Animal Services Shelter on Facebook.
Going online to meet a pet and its fosterer as well as conducting adoption counseling by phone or video appointment are more convenient and efficient than driving some distance for an in-person interview. Of course, face-to-face meetings with foster pets prior to adoption can be done by appointment with everyone socially distanced.
Finally, post-adoption support by video conference or phone can smooth a pet’s transition into its new 凯发体育官方sporthome.
With pets in foster 凯发体育官方sporthomes, shelter staff have more time to develop outreach programs to support people and pets in their community and to help the few animals remaining in the shelter.
With animal shelters expanding foster programs, and developing their online marketing and adoption tools, things will not only be good for people and pets now but will be better when this COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Free Fun Activity Books for Kids at https://www.maddiesfund.org/maddies-tail-wag.htm?_ga=2.253798413.460897674.1594759198-744103849.1594162976
* “Maddie’s Tail Wag” for pre-kindergarteners develops children’s basic skills while teaching responsibility, empathy and the benefits of animal companionship.
* “Maddie’s Tail Wag” for children 7-10 provides a variety of activities as they follow Wiggle and Waggle’s journey from 凯发体育官方sporthomeless, to foster 凯发体育官方sporthome, to forever 凯发体育官方sporthome.
Some things are meant to be. Barbara Clark and her family heard about Front Street Animal Shelter needing to evacuate its animals to foster 凯发体育官方sporthomes and decided to help.
Barbara’s daughter, MiKayla, writes, “When we first saw Bozer, he was sitting in the corner shaking and very scared. He was the last little dog left that needed to be fostered because no one could handle his needs.
“Once he was taken out of the shelter and at 凯发体育官方sporthome, his silly side emerged and we fell in love with him right away. He became comfortable around us and less timid very quickly. He loves to take walks and run around the yard with our other dogs. He and our big dog, Tyson, play with each other nonstop and keep each other company.
“He loves, loves, loves getting belly rubs and laying in the sun. Bozer has come a long way, from being a dog that could barely be touched to a kind, sweet, loving little four-legged family member. We love him and are so glad we went to the shelter that day.”
— Evelyn Dale of Davis is a volunteer and advocate for shelter animal welfare. Contact her at [email protected] This column appears monthly.ShareTweet