COVID-19 has undoubtedly had a large impact on the animal welfare community. Adoption processes are changing and shelters and rescue groups are adapting as best they can, but one thing is still the same: homeless pets still need the help of people like you.
At Petfinder, we’ve always been focused on helping pets find their people. That mission remains the same. But times are a bit different right now, and here are some changes you might notice as you visit our site during the COVID-19 pandemic and search for pets today.
Changes you may notice on Petfinder.com
- While our site remains largely the same, we’re all operating under a new normal, and that goes especially for our Petfinder members, working hard to place pets in loving homes.
- Shelters and rescue groups may need additional time to respond to inquiries. Many are facing volunteer shortages and adapting to new ways of working.
- Adoption processes may now be different. Expect increased digital communication through email, along with potential video interviews and phone calls.
- It may take a little more time to see newly adoptable pets appearing on our website, as adoption groups adjust to meeting the needs of animals and people currently in their community, while maintaining social distancing protocol.
Challenges facing shelters and rescues
- Reduced staff and fewer volunteers means it may take more time to respond to emails and inquiries, as volunteers balance pet care and communication with potential adopters.
- Adapting to new ways of communicating (with their staff, community and potential adopters) may lead to hiccups in process.
- Cancelled fundraising events and lowered shelter traffic could cause staff layoffs, loss of income and a greater need for donations of money or supplies.
- Spreading of misinformation and rumors may make it more challenging to keep pets safe.
- Enacting general safety protocols for pets and staff may also mean a slowing of processes.
- Additionally, many pets are still coming in the doors of shelters and rescues, despite the slowing of adoption processes in general
Ways you can help pets during COVID-19
- Be patient and kind if you’re looking to adopt a pet. Shelters and rescues are doing the best they can with limited resources.
- Be flexible. Work with shelters and rescues to adapt, and ask questions if you have them.
- Consider fostering if you can’t find the pet you’re looking for right now. It’s a great way to help a pet in need, and you never know when you may meet your best furry friend.
- Donate to your local shelter or help pets in need through the Petfinder Foundation, which is providing grants for shelters affected by COVID-19. You can also check out other ways to help dogs & cats during COVID-19 to support pets affected by the pandemic.