At the Lee County Humane Society, we are seeking fosters and adopters to help clear the shelter kennels during a time when many people are self-isolating and avoiding public interactions.

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing tragedy and hardship worldwide, highlighting the importance of helping each other and supporting charitable organizations during this time while protecting each other’s health.

Animal shelters and rescue organizations are among the organizations that need additional help and support from local communities as we continue to care for lost and homeless companion animals.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we and shelters nationwide are filling to capacity due to lower adoption rates that are happening at the same time as puppy and kitten season.

If staff members need to be quarantined, we will be short of people to take care of animals at the shelter as well.

Why LCHS needs fosters now more than ever

With low adoption rates, animals may end up spending more time as LCHS residents than they typically would. Being in a kennel environment with many other animals can be stressful, potentially leading to health and behavior problems.

Even if you can’t commit to adopting an animal, we strongly encourage members of the community who are going to be spending more time at home than usual over the next few weeks to foster a shelter pet.

Fostering an animal at home is a safe way to help shelters without increasing exposure to the virus. The CDC and ASPCA have stated that there is no indication that pets and other animals are spreading COVID-19.

According to the CDC, “In the United States, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, livestock or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection at this time. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.”

A LCHS foster story

Because my husband and I are working from home more than usual, we decided to foster. Just last Tuesday, I brought our dog, a Chihuahua-terrier mix named Teddy, to complete a meet-and-greet with shelter dogs that were especially in need of a break from the kennel environment.

We decided to test Teddy with Eddy, an LCHS dog in need who was experiencing high anxiety in the shelter, but who LCHS staff had tested with small dogs.

During the meet-and-greet, both dogs were a little timid, but respectful of each other’s space. After a minute or two, they started approaching each other and sniffing each other.

After being in our home for only two hours, Eddy was already coming out of his shell and interacting with everyone. After a meal and a nap, he picked up Teddy’s stuffed hedgehog and started throwing it around, which was adorable. Our cat Barclay is fascinated with Eddy and follows him wherever he goes.

Because of this foster experience, we know not only does Eddy get along with small animals, but he is also at least partially potty trained.

During these difficult times, it is inspiring and heartwarming for us to see Eddy blossom in a home environment. We hope to help him find his forever home soon!

Adopting from LCHS during the COVID-19 outbreak

For adopters, spending more time at home with a new animal can help to make the animal’s adjustment period easier and will also help shelters to save more lives. All altered animals now have an adoption fee of only $19.

The first step of the adoption process is to fill out the adoption application on our website at leecountyhumane.org and visit our Available Dogs or Available Cats page to see all of our adoptable animals.

If you see an animal that you’d like to meet, please email us at lchs1140@leecountyhumane.org or call ahead to set up an appointment.

We are now utilizing an appointment system to ensure that only one adopter is in the building at one time. We have implemented this policy to protect the health of adopters.

How to become a foster

If you’d like to foster with us, the first step is to fill out an adoption application on our website.

To limit the number of adopters and fosters who are at the shelter at the same time, all potential fosters need to set up an appointment with us by emailing Bailey Ray, our foster coordinator, at foster2@leecountyhumane.org or by calling LCHS at 334-821-3222.

At the shelter, we are doing everything we can to increase the quality of life for our animals at this time, including doubling the time that our dogs spend in play groups by having play groups both in the mornings and afternoons.

We always appreciate the help of volunteers to care for our animals and assist in socializing them.

Donations are also very beneficial to us, as always. Our wish list is located under the “Donate” tab on our website, and particular items we need are updated every Monday through our Must Have Monday social media posts.

With the help of our supporters and the community, LCHS can continue to provide the best care for homeless companion animals and find happy forever homes for them.

Column by Kelly Daniel, volunteer coordinator with the Lee County Humane Society.

Column by Kelly Daniel, volunteer coordinator with the Lee County Humane Society.

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