Life

Here’s one shortage you didn’t expect. Shelters are running out of dogs & cats.

A small yellow dog sitting in its owner's lap.
A small yellow dog sitting in its owner's lap.Photo: Zivica Kerkez / Shutterstock

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a shortage on availability for many things, but this is one most people will be thankful for.

Several organizations are reporting that dogs and cats adoptions are on the rise – and foster agencies and shelters say that they have become so popular, they are actually running short. So many people want companionship while they quarantine or social distance at home, that pet rescuers or foster centers that are normally at capacity are actually near-empty.

Related: Ellen goes to the dogs (and cats) with Oprah

This is especially true for New York and California-based groups, where the pandemic is having some of the most drastic effects to date.

Julie Castle, the CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, told Bloomberg that “We’re seeing people show up in droves to foster.” The ASPCA also reports that their adoption rate has increased 70%.

Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski is one notable LGBTQ person to adopt a pet – a dog, pitbull/beagle mix named Neon from the local Austin Pets Alive! organization. He recently showed off Neon while he played his co-star Johnathan Van Ness in a match of Scrabble GO on Twitter.

Bisexual historian Elle Maruska, currently living in Spain and adopting cats in need, initiated the hashtag #PetSocialDistancingFails to show off pets that can’t keep their distance.

While shelter operators are excited that animals are finding loving homes, several expressed fear that continued uncertainty could lead to a problem further down the road. They worry there will be an influx of animals to shelter after people go back to work or can’t afford to feed their new companion after losing their income.

Pet adoption programs also heavily rely on donations or corporate giving, so their ability to withstand the current situation is not as stable as well.

Regardless, there is nothing but joy all around for the cats and dogs that are helping our neighbors cope.

“There’s nothing quite like self-isolating with a dog or cat who is just hanging out and enjoying life with you,” said Pam Wiese of the Nebraska Humane Society to the Daily Beast.

Her organization was able to host a weekend adoption “sale”, where a bank undertook the fees related to adopting a pet.

Angela Speed of the Wisconsin Humane Society is remaining positive. She does not see returns or an influx of foster animals as a bad thing, “even if we do get [large numbers.]”

“Often these periods of time are a field trip for a dog, or just a family realizes that pet might not be a good fit for that home.”

Here are some other pets with LGBTQ owners for you to admire because we all need it:

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