Pet adoptions, fosters skyrocket in US amid coronavirus pandemic

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Animals shelters across the United States are emptying out thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, as people confined to their homes are adopting or fostering animals in droves.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, which partners with some 400 shelters nationwide.

“The fostering and adoptions have just been through the roof,” she told AFP. ”Every shelter is reporting out the same thing. It’s amazing to see how many lives have been saved.”

Block said as the COVID-19 outbreak took hold, shelters – many of which were forced to close because of stay-at-home orders – launched adoption appeals, and the response has been overwhelming.

Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and even hens have found homes, as people all over the country look for pets to help them cope with confinement.

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“We’ve always talked about having a dog, but it was never the right time until now,” said Jalene Hillery, a teacher who lives in San Diego, California, and who recently adopted Mason, an American pit bull, from the local shelter.

She said the fact that she and her husband, as well as their two young sons, are home has allowed for a smooth adoption, given that they have time to care for the dog and help him adjust to his new home.

“We get to connect with him, train him, and that’s really been fun,” she told AFP.

Hillery said Mason has also proven a great companion for her boys, aged 9 and 11, who are missing their school friends and needed something to help ease anxiety.

“The dog is filling a need... and is able to provide comfort and love and play,” Hillery said. “He’s definitely filled the void in our home that we didn’t even know existed.

“It’s almost like it’s too good to be true,” Hillery added.

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