Shelters across the United States are reporting an unexpected phenomenon – the number of people applying to foster pets has skyrocketed. For example, one shelter in New York City put out a request for 200 fosters and received over 2,000 applications. Shelters are emptying out at unprecedented rates. Why? Because people are looking for companionship while riding out the pandemic.
As the global pandemic has most of America either under shelter in place orders or similar restrictions, bars and restaurants and normal social gathering places are closed and social distancing orders are in place. Those who aren’t yet under such orders likely will be in the coming weeks as the nation struggles to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. More and more Americans have found themselves lonely and in need of a companion and have turned to fostering a pet as a way to gain companionship.
The surge in pet fostering isn’t just good for people, it’s good for the pets too. Shelters are loud and often stressful places for animals. Being in a home gives them a chance to relax and let their personality shine. When they get comfortable in a home, you get to see who they really are, without the stress of the shelter. Fostering a pet doesn’t just help the animal cope, but also helps the human better cope with the unique situation at hand.
Fostering is Like Dating
According to experts, fostering a pet is similar to dating. You aren’t making a lifetime commitment yet but rather trying it out to see how it works out between you. Fostering a pet offers companionship to people but with minimal emotional risk. Shelters and experts are uncertain if this fostering frenzy will die down the longer the pandemic stretches on or what percentage of the fostered pets will have permanent homes with their pandemic fosters. Hopefully, the fosters will result in many adoptions and forever families for these animals.