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A huge amount of dog-loving New Yorkers are applying to foster right now

Collier Sutter
Written by
Collier Sutter

In this time of uncertainty, a massive amount of New Yorkers are raising their hands to take in quarantine pals in need of a home.

Dog fostering has shot up from about 100 applications a month to over 1,000 applications in the last two months, Anna Lai, Marketing Director of Muddy Paws Rescue tells us. Applications to adopt have also gone up, with a few hundred more sent in than average.

Why the sudden surge? Shelters and animal advocates across NYC have made it clear that pets could be at risk during the pandemic, from canceled adoption events (where many dogs are usually matched with their future parents), the possibility for pups to be given back due to owners economic hardship or health, overcrowding in animal shelters, and even staffing shortages.

But, New York residents aren’t letting that happen on their watch, especially while cooped up inside their homes.

"NYC is a very dog loving city for adopting and fostering, but now even more are people finding they have more time to themselves while working at home,” says Lai. “They are reaching out with such generosity and compassion to give their time to help as many dogs as they can."


Courtesy Muddy Paws Rescue

Elizabeth Jensen, Northeast Regional Director of Best Friends Animal Society has also seen the same trend happening across the city.

“Many local shelters had a sudden outpour of support from kind-hearted people willing to help pets through foster and adoption, and now organizations are working their way through the logistics of operating during the coronavirus—from adoptions by appointment, to no-contact foster drop offs.”

But, don’t be fooled—there are still plenty of homeless dogs in need of a safe home, you just might not be hearing back yet because shelters are working around the clock to navigate the current unchartered waters and obstacles of matching pets during these times.

“While right now, there’s a huge influx of foster interest, we’re facing a new challenge of having to navigate the guidelines of the PAUSE mandate and safely take in more dogs to save more lives. It’s been tougher to match foster parents with dogs in need,” says Lai of Muddy Paws Rescue.

“There continues to be a large demand for people to step up and help the pets in their communities,” seconds Jensen Best Friends Animal Society. “It’s just the flow in and out of some local shelters has been temporarily adjusted with the cooperation of the public to factor in a reduction in staffing and other needed resources at this time. The pipeline is still flowing, but is being modulated. The issue of pet homelessness during COVID-19 is not going to be solved in a day, so stay by your shelter's side. If things are taking longer than you hope, just don’t interpret it as a lack of need for your support.”


Courtesy Muddy Paws Rescue

Want to foster a dog?

Typically, for Muddy Paws, there's a two week minimum commitment to foster. You can reach out here

Is it OK to foster a dog with the coronavirus spreading?

The World Health Organization currently advises that there is no evidence that dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. The CDC additionally stated that, “At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19.” To take extra precautions, however, always scrub down your dog's paws and face ( as thoroughly as you would your hands) after going outside for a walk. If you think your dog could have been in contact with the virus, be sure to keep the soap foamed on them in a bath for at least 5 minutes to rid of any virus and dry them off properly.

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