Sweet pea was happy to have found her forever home.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for many Animal Shelters and Rescues across the world and PWNA’s RAR Program Partners are no exception. RAR's Program Partners have had to completely alter their approach to outreach, rehabbing, and rehoming animals.
Socialization between humans and animals is critical for finding #furever homes. The adoptive process typically involves at least one or two visits at the shelter/foster home and a home visit to ensure the match is beneficial for human companions and animals. The smiles, hugs, and laughter that come from pairing the perfect animal and humans are unforgettable and it’s clear from talking with our Partners that the coronavirus is creating an unexpected surge in animal fostering and adoptions.
Rose, a Partner that serves rescues in Tuba City, AZ, and the surrounding area (Navajo and Hopi Reservations) shares:
“I saw data earlier in the year that said shelters were 20% lower intake than the previous year, but adoptions and fostering is through the roof. We definitely do see that shelters in our area are having very brisk adoptions. With us, because we do not have a facility and only have foster homes, that limits how many we can take through to adoption.”
Even Rose’s number of intakes are much higher than normal this year:
“A normal year for us is helping about 400 animals in a year. This year…we are running about 100 more than a normal year, which is really crazy and stressful.”
Thanks to donors like you, Ralphie was treated by Dr. Holgate at the end of 2019.
Another after effect to the pandemic has been expanding their focus from strays to include puppy litters-and of course that comes with economic effects:“We normally are 95% focused on strays, but this year have also taken in more surrendered litters from people (and then getting momma spayed-we pay for that if they can't afford it)."
There is a strain on financial resources in homes and shelters and as Rose shares: “There is a general concern about what will happen when things open up more and more people go back to work away from home, plus concern about evictions and foreclosures, etc. "
The director of another Arizona no-kill shelter, Pet Allies, serving the Apache tribes in eastern Arizona, has seen an increase in adoptions.
Hamish was fortunate to have special foster homes to help with his recovery and socialization for permanent placement.
“It’s amazing and in my 20 years of doing this work I have seen nothing like it before. But then I’ve never lived through a pandemic. At first, we did worry about returns, but what we are learning in our industry is that many people will permanently work from home. This has decreased a lot of the concerns about possible ‘return to work/return to shelter’ fears. People can live wherever they choose, so it is possible we may see an influx of people who move to our lower cost of living area, who can work from home now and permanently. We no longer fear a big intake when the virus is gone.”
But when the financial pendulum swung, returns of adopted animals did increase. They noticed when the additional $600 a week for unemployment was discontinued/expired, there was a week where they saw an influx of animals being returned. And again, with the state-wide restrictions for evictions were lifted for non-paying tenants, they saw another influx of animals returned, but only for a month. Their biggest challenges are with placing animals with medical or behavioral issues—they are taking a long time to adopt.
“People do have to think about a commitment to an animal that may require frequent veterinary care and/or behavior help expenses. So, these animals are staying with us a longer time."
Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment. With the holidays approaching puppies for presents may also increase adoptions, but families and households must have a long-term plan when they consider adoptions. Our animals deserve this so that when they are rehomed—it is their forever home.🤍
Thank you for your support of cats and dogs on the rez!