Want to bring good feelings into your home, now that you're spending so much time there? Foster or adopt a pet from a local animal shelter or rescue. It's a booming trend that's helping not only poor homeless dogs and cats but also their big-hearted humans. And it's actually easier than you think. Here's what you need to know about bringing home an adorable furball during these crazy times.
Feel the Love: How to Foster and Adopt a Pet During Social Distancing
1. You Can Browse Online
No more walking past those rows of needy dogs with their dewy plaintive eyes, or watching a room full of cats and trying to sort out which one is the right match for you. Just visit a web site and scroll past the smiling little snouts for the one that's calling your name. Start with L.A. Animal Services, and when you see a pet you want to adopt, call 888-452-7381 and a staffer will share all the available information they have on the pet with you.
2. There Are Tons of Options
Area pet rescues are reporting a huge uptick in the number of animals being fostered and adopted, but with spring bringing a bumper crop of new births and increased economic hardships among current pet owners, there's an anticipated flow of new pets in the adoption pipeline. Local rescues that need your help include Best Friends (there's an online search function that lets you choose by sex, size and age of animal), Rockin' Rescue and Animal Care and Control. Love felines? Check out the Kitten Rescue.
3. Getting Your Pet Is Faster Than Ever
BLUF: It takes more time than Tinder, less time than Match.com. Since social distancing protocols require minimal human interaction, adopting or fostering a pet these days is not your mama's visit to the pound. For most shelters and rescues, you choose three pets you're interested in, in order of preference, and then submit an application online. You are notified via email of your application's acceptance, and then you simply go to pick up your animal outside the shelter, without an actual person-to-person handover.
4. Enjoy Waived Fees and Covered Costs
In the case of Los Angeles Animal Care Centers, since April 4, adoption fees are waived, in acknowledgement of the economic hardship (like reduced work hours and furloughs) that may be freeing up your time to foster or adopt in the first place. And foster animal arrangements often come with free or subsidized veterinarian bills—be sure to ask upfront.
5. Still Not Sure? Read Up on the Health Benefits
We're thinking of the scientific findings that friendly human-dog interaction increase oxytocin in both human and animal, after just 10 minutes of contact. Increased oxytocin equals stress relief and a feeling of calm, which is basically everyone's cup of tea these days. (Psst: Here are five more scientifically-proven health benefits of bringing Fido into your home.)