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Pet Adoptions During This Time: How to find a furry companion while self-isolating

If ever we could use unconditional love, support, and companionship, it’s now and who better to provide it than a pet.

Research has shown time and time again that contact with pets provides numerous benefits for our mental and physical health, including:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased happiness
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness

For seniors, having a pet has been shown to help older adults cope with isolation. Given the current climate and the recommendation to physical distance and social isolate, there’s no better time to consider adopting a pet.

How to adopt a pet when most of the country is shut down

While there is no better time to share your love with a furry friend, finding a pet to adopt when the country is at a standstill due to the pandemic can make it seem impossible.

Animal shelters, such as local SPCA animal centers are currently closed to the public due to the pandemic, but shelters aren’t the only option for seniors who are looking to adopt a pet.

Many animal rescues are still open to adoptions and have protocols in place to help keep you and their staff safe during this time.

Animal rescues are non-profit organizations run by caring volunteers who take in animals in need and help find them loving forever homes.

Animal rescue groups generally focus on a specific type or breed of companion animals, usually dogs or cats. You can find pets of all ages and breeds in rescues.

An online search or call to a local vet can direct you to pet rescues in your area. On occasion, vet clinics have pets in their care that are in need of a home.

Occasionally, people looking to rehome a pet post on Facebook groups and online classified sites, such as Kijiji.

Things to consider before adopting a pet

Pets make the world a better place. For all that they do for us, they deserve just as much in return. This begins with not taking the decision to adopt lightly and being certain that welcoming a pet into your home is right for you and them.

Here are some things to consider before you adopt a pet:

  • Can you afford it? Along with an adoption fee, which can cost around $250 to $450, there are other expenses to consider. These include food, grooming and/or grooming supplies, and vet bills.
  • Type breed, and age of the pet. The type, breed, and age of a pet will dictate size, energy levels, and exercise needs. It’s important to consider the work involved with the animal before making your choice. The rescuer or a vet can recommend the best options based on your needs and preferences.
  • Your lifestyle. You may be home a lot now, but what about after the pandemic is over and things return to normal? Do you travel a lot? Are you involved in a lot of activities that may make it hard to give a pet the time and attention it needs?
  • Are pets allowed where you live? Many condos and buildings have restrictions when it comes to pets. Some restrict dogs over a certain size or weight, while others don’t allow pets at all. Check with your condo board or landlord before getting a pet.
  • Do you have allergies or an immune condition that could be exacerbated by a pet? Speak to your doctor before getting a pet if you have allergies, a compromised immune system, or any condition that might be negatively affected by a pet.

If you’re ready and able to commit to a pet, be sure to do your due diligence. Get as much information as you can about the organization or person you’re adopting from, as well as about the pet, including its medical history, temperament, and any special needs.

Owning a pet is a forever commitment, so the more prepared you are, the better for you and your future furry companion.

Keeping yourself safe throughout the adoption process

To stay safe from Covid-19, contact with the organization should be mainly conducted virtually; either by phone or internet. When the time comes to meet the pet in person (a MUST to make sure you’re a good fit for each other!), appropriate measures need to be taken so that you can continue to self-isolate.

Be sure to ask the volunteer or rescuer how this can be done. In order to continue your isolation, a family member who lives in your household or a professional in-home care provider can help so that you do not have to come into direct contact with anyone else.

Article sources

Healthy Pets, Healthy People. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

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