Calgary animal rescues see a coronavirus bump in pet adoptions, fosters

ANIMAL SHELTERS ACROSS CALGARY ARE ENCOURAGED BY RISING ADOPTION RATES BUT WORRY ABOUT ANIMAL SURRENDERS ONCE THE PANDEMIC ENDS

Milo waiting for his walk at his fur-ever home. CONTRIBUTED

Many Calgarians have turned to pet adoption to help fill time during coronavirus, but there’s mounting concern over what happens in a post-pandemic return to work.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Calgary and surrounding area animal rescues have seen an increase in both adoption and fostering.

With public health measures put in place, the push for people to stay home and workplaces shut down, would-be Calgary pet owners took the plunge.

What about when they go back to work?

Reminder that it’s a long-term commitment

Kim Hessel, Founder of Heaven Can Wait Animal Rescue, said they’re taking steps to ensure people interested in adopting are confident about their decision.

“We’re trying to help people determine if this is for the long term, […] not just three months or six, but five years or 10,” said Hessel.

Despite the increase in adoptions, Roisin Kerr, director of communications at Pawsitive Match rescue foundation said there are fewer animals available due to the border closure.

“We bring in small dogs from the United States, from high kill shelter in California and Vegas and that has stopped,” she said.

She said California is having a similar non-problem in that a lot of the animals they do have are being adopted.

Bob, one of many happy adopted cats enjoying a belly rub. MADASYN KOST / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

The purr-fect alternative

Adoption isn’t an option for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help an animal in need.

Unfortunately, a lot of the animals housed at HCW are not ready for adoption. Some, like a group of wolf hybrids, will never be able to leave.

Hessel explained that families can find a dog online and sponsor them, a way of virtual fostering. HCW will send photos of the dog and give updates on how they’re doing. All the family is responsible for is donating food every month.

“It’s not a huge expense on their part because I realize everyone’s got money issues right now, but it’s still away that they can feel involved,” said Hessel.

Routine critical for pets after return to work

While our lives aren’t as busy as they usually are, things will eventually go back to normal. This means more alone time for pets.

If you’re planning on adopting or fostering an animal it’s important to give your new furry friend a routine.

Hessel said that it’s important to keep this in mind so that the animals don’t get anxiety when it’s time to go back to work.

“I’ve been encouraging people leave their dogs alone for a few hours, go take a walk just on your own, you know, leave and go do errands all so they don’t get anxious when you do go back to normal hours.”

This pup, Minnie, was adopted from Pawsitive Match. CONTRIBUTED

Consider donating to a local shelter

If adopting or fostering isn’t in the cards for you right now, you can always donate. Both Pawsitive Match and Heaven Can Wait along with most shelters accept monetary donations as well as food and supplies.

Kerr said that this time of year is vital for fundraising events but with the cancellations due to COVID-19, everything is changing.

“We’re definitely going to see a hit this year, I think, in terms of fundraising, just because we can’t have our normal events,” she said.

Kerr said the foundation has had to cancel events like their annual Spay-ghetti fundraiser and Pawsitive Match marathon event.

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