This is a good time to be a dog or a cat. Pets generally like having their companions around and many people are spending much more time at home in the COVID pandemic.
Pets that didn’t have a home have been more likely to find human hearts opening to them. Those with a home already are more likely to be kept by their owners.
Kathy Kelsey, manager of the Atlantic County Animal Shelter, mentioned more time at home as one reason for the increase in pet adoptions there. She also suggested two others — people are seeking companions to compensate for the diminished human interaction from social distancing, and people have time to train a new pet and get it accustomed to their home.
Pets nationwide are more likely to find that home of their dreams during this trying time for people. Those in Atlantic County are doing even better.
The county shelter reports that during the past three months, 95% of pets have achieved the shelter industry measure called “live outcome,” a combination of adoptions, transfers to animal rescue organizations and even returning to existing owners. Since March, 91 dogs and 81 cats have been adopted from the shelter and another 282 cats and 106 dogs have transferred to rescue agencies.
Nationwide, the percentage of live outcomes this year has increased to 85% from last year’s 79% during the same period through July 14, according to Shelter Animals Count. That nonprofit compiles data from 391 local government shelters, 349 private typically nonprofit shelters, and 530 rescue organizations.
Atlantic County’s shelter also is seeing fewer animals brought in, and that’s very much the case across America. Intake of pets at U.S. shelters so far this year is 860,000, down sharply from the 1.13 million last year at this time.
Pets have done well especially in COVID hotspots. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has seen a 70% increase in animals entering foster care in New York City and Los Angeles compared to this time last year.
Shelters have taken steps to keep safe people who come seeking a pet.
The Atlantic County Humane Society, which also has seen an increase in adoptions, in April started offering them by appointment only. Then at the end of June it held an adoption event outdoors — and placed 26 dogs and cats.
Compared to the health and economic devastation from the coronavirus, better outcomes for stranded pets don’t amount to much. But silver linings to this year’s encompassing storm cloud are rare and welcome, whatever their size. Especially if they’re this heartwarming.