Increase in Shelter Pets Adopted or Fostered as More Families Work From Home

Families that previously didn't have time to take care of a pet now find themselves at home and available to help their pet transition into the family.

One unexpected benefit of families staying home to curb the spread of the coronavirus is that more shelter dogs are moving into foster or forever homes.

Bubba, a 10-month-old mastiff, has moved in full-time with his foster mom, Erin Trotta. Trotta normally only fosters dogs on the weekends, as she works full-time, but when she started working from home, she decided to bring Bubba home as she’s now home more, too.

“It's definitely made a difference in my day to day life,” Trotta told WCBS. “Just having someone who's there for me, keep me entertained, make me laugh."

Similarly, as various “shelter-in-place” orders are taking place in states around the country, shelters like Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Washington, D.C. are seeing more and more animals adopted by families that wouldn’t have been able to in the past.

Like Georgie, a 2-month-old shelter dog, who moved in with a Maryland family that had been craving to adopt for the last year.

His new owner Jessica Holzer explained that because both she and her husband were working a lot and spent a lot of time outside the home, they never had the opportunity before to adopt a puppy even though their kids had been wanting one.

“We just didn’t know how we’d manage integrating a puppy into our family and house-training the dog, and I just thought, ‘Wow, we’ve got to do it now,’” she told WCBS. “What a silver lining for my children.”

To support the trend, many animal shelters are pushing virtual adoption events, sharing additional photos of adoptable dogs on their social media accounts, with the hopes that these animals will be taken out of the shelters as their own staff begins reducing their on-site hours.

Foster Dogs, Inc. in New York City is one of them.

"There are shelters around the country that are mobilizing in ways that they’ve never done before where they are saying it is so urgent that we get all our animals out of our facility and be able to take in new animals and get these animals into safe places because we don’t know what the next days [or] weeks will be,” said executive director Sarah Brasky of Foster Dogs, Inc.