Fostering pets has taken on a new connection in the age of isolation. With the coming of COVID-19 there have arrived some good things— one of these things is that many people have begun fostering and adopting pets as a way to counteract isolation while confined to home. Across the US, the rate of foster care and adoption has increased greatly due to the shelter-in-place mandates that have swept the nation.

“We have more people wanting to foster than we have pets,” says Ginnie Baumann Robilotta, vice-president of Animal Rescue New Orleans. The shelter, which is operating by appointment only, typically has about 50 dogs; it currently has only 16. From March 11 to April 5, 42 dogs and 14 cats were adopted from the shelter, compared to 27 dogs and six cats during the same period last year. “In spite of the uncertainty of what’s going to happen, the love of an animal is going to change people’s lives,” says Robilotta. (

Human beings crave connectivity and companionship. As that ability is diminished, state shelters are finding people turning to pets to alleviate loneliness and fight depression. This unprecedented time in our history is forcing us to think of new, or perhaps previously under-acknowledged, ways of introducing happiness and comfort in our lives.

“All told, animal rescue organizations across the country are seeing about a 90% increase in foster requests, says Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “It’s sort of the perfect storm of factors that have allowed people to foster at this time,” says Block. “People are home, working remotely, feeling socially isolated. This is not a usual thing for us. Having that dog or cat or hamster does make a big difference.” (

It might be time to consider adopting or fostering a pet, however, with anything new, it is important to do your research before jumping in. A pet is a commitment and they deserve our time, attention and care. Here is an initial checklist to see if you are ready to take the plunge:

  1. You intend to keep and care for the pet once your normal schedule resumes.
  2. You have the financial ability to support the animal’s food, care, vet visits, any medications or surgeries needed, and general needs.
  3. For foster families, you are willing to give the animal back after a determined time. You are ok with not be able to keep the pet.
  4. For foster families, you are willing to tell friends they are not allowed to adopt your pet.
  5. You have a place or area where larger animals can run or walk daily. You are willing to walk your animal daily.
  6. You have enough space in your house to keep the animal.

Feature Photo by Hoy on Pexels
Photo by Derrick Santos on Pexels