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As Shelters Remain Closed, More People are Opening Their Homes to Foster Pets

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Katelyn Freund
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Fetching Hearts Dog Rescue is just one fostering agency with chapters in southeastern North Carolina. Pecan Sandy and Dottie both found homes through the organization's fostering program.

As businesses and organizations are shutting their doors in the wake of COVID-19, so are animal shelters. Last week, the New Hanover and Brunswick County Sheriff’s Offices announced adoptions have been suspended this month. But shelter animals are still finding foster homes -- through people who now have some extra time on their hands. 

Quarantine and social-distancing can be lonely -- so a growing number of people are turning to canine companions. 

Nina Fish, Foster Coordinator with Fetching Hearts Dog Rescue, says her organization has seen a considerable increase in foster volunteers since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. This is important, Fish says, because with less available staff at shelters nationwide -- that means a lot of animals would otherwise be kenneled in nearly-empty facilities. 

“If this is going to be a long haul thing, which it sounds like it may be, the home environment for a dog is the best place. They can learn to socialize, they can learn basic commands and basic training to help them grow. So when they find their forever home, they're much more comfortable in the home environment.”

Most shelters cover food and medical costs, at the very least. So while animal fostering may be a time commitment, your short-term visitor won’t dent your wallet in the midst of a global pandemic.