Contributed by Sarah Frazier, 9 to 5 Pets
Even before stay-at-home orders descended over the U.S., fostering and adopting pets was a crucial source of intimacy, companionship, and purpose for many. But during these recent months, even more animal lovers have opened up their homes and hearts. Pets have been constant companions for people under lockdown, especially those who live alone, as they can be such a consistent source of entertainment and affection. Pets are also known to reduce stress as well as help people establish and keep a routine that often includes exercise!
Stay-at-home orders gave many people the opportunity to take on things like this that require round the clock care that they had perhaps not had the time for before. The ASPCA reported a 400% increase in online foster applications compared to the same time in 2019¹ and a nearly 70% increase when it came to fostering in their New York City and Los Angeles programs alone.² Many shelters have also seen lots of “failed fosters” as they are often called, as people have fallen in love with their foster animals over all this time at home. This has been a welcome trend for many shelters, as not only did COVID-19 necessitate a pause on most volunteer work but lockdowns coincided with kitten season!
Some shelters, including the Jacksonville Humane Society at one time, ran out of all of their adoptable kittens! It was a busy time for all sorts of organizations from local shelters to private rescues to small businesses that engage with rescue work. Other groups operating around Jacksonville and beyond that have helped place pets with their forever homes during these months include S.A.F.E. and Mayport Cats, and even the coffee shop, The Caffeinated Cat, in Jacksonville Beach, where this little cutie (Walter), a member of the 9 To 5 Pets family, came from!
The shortage of rescue animals, the waitlists for foster programs, and the freedom to provide more constant care under lockdown has also led more people to take on older, more complex, or special needs animals that they otherwise wouldn’t have considered. This has been especially great for the older animals who are often overlooked but who so many fall in love with for their calmer and gentler nature.
Of course having a long term plan is incredibly important when adopting an animal, but these have been far from predictable times. Some rescue organizations have expressed concerns over the possibility of a large number of animals being surrendered back to shelters if unemployment continues to rise while others go back to busier work routines. Luckily there hasn’t been a significant report of this yet and if the need arises, 9 To 5 Pets is here to help!
From quick visits throughout the work day to fun off-leash adventures, 9 To 5 Pets is ready to help give your fur family the attention and exercise they need while you figure out your new normal!