March 29 2020
In a time of isolation, the demand for animal companions has increased
Flooded with requests to foster or adopt, shelters and rescue groups move operations online
Andrew Stillman first met Bacio, a 10-year-old terrier mix, online through a video call.
“It was surreal and a bit of a risk because I made that decision to adopt him before actually meeting, but at the same time you can get a good sense of their personality,” said Stillman, whose adoption of Bacio went through on Thursday after several video calls with the dog’s foster family. “Right now is a unique time. I live alone, and so in some ways it was the perfect time to have someone to shelter in place with me and to build a relationship with.”
Stillman said while working from home and on calls, Bacio likes to lounge lazily on the couch next to him.
“We’re all going through this incredible moment of change collectively in this pandemic, and a dog can be a great partner in that,” Stillman said.
During these days of isolation, animal shelters and rescues have received a flood of requests to potentially foster or adopt animals in need of homes. After Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a statewide shelter-at-home and told non-essential businesses to shut down, animal shelters and rescues quickly tried to find foster homes for the animals left in their shelters. The community sprang into action. …
“So many people who have reached out to us are suffering from isolation and loneliness,” said Sherri Franklin, the founder of Muttville. “An animal can turn that around in a split second. They need affection, can give affection, get you outside for a walk and help everyday with a little exercise.”
Although Newsom clarified that animal care workers are classified as essential service workers, many of the shelters have closed until further notice to protect staff and potential foster parents and adopters. Rescues like Muttville, which connected Stillman to his little terrier Bacio, have started virtual adoptions, meetings over video conference for potential adopters with dogs, and no-contact drop-offs.
“Everybody is adapting to this new way to do business and it’s been kind of fun,” said Franklin from Muttville. …