Updated: Mar 29, 2020
You’re working from home and the kids are out of school. Perhaps your office has closed and you find yourself with a lot of free time right now. You’ve been thinking of adding a pet to your home but is now a good time? The answer is. . .maybe.
Denise Hayes, CEO of the Roanoke Valley SPCA, says while some shelters have seen an influx of owner-surrenders, that hasn’t been the case at the SPCA. But she fears they could see an increase in the future.
“As the disease progresses and if individuals are facing serious financial issue, we anticipate that there will be more of a need for our assistance.”
With many businesses and agencies closing their doors-at least temporarily-residents may not have even thought about adopting a pet right now.
“Families who had pets in foster are adopting them and a few other adoptions have occurred, but it seems that most individuals are currently heeding the request to socially distance themselves from others.”
Hayes says it might be a good time to adopt but it depends on your situation. More free time could give the new pet a chance to settle in but it may also increase the amount of stress in the home-and on a new pet.
“Yes, many families are at home teleworking and staying in with all the activity cancellations; however it is also very stressful on many families as they navigate home schooling kids, child care situations, telework arrangements etc.
It can be difficult to add a new pet to the mix, especially a dog that may need potty training. However, there are many benefits to adopting at this time as you do have the additional time at home to focus on your new pet and getting them acclimated to their new environment.”
Hayes says new procedures have been put in place to protect staff and potential adopters from COVID-19.
“Temporarily, all adoptions will be done by appointment only. If people are interested in adopting an animal from Roanoke Valley SPCA we ask that you visit our Adoption webpage and call to make an appointment. We're still open Monday through Saturday from noon until 7pm, but our last adoption appointment is 6pm.
Applications should be downloaded, completed and emailed or faxed to the Roanoke Valley SPCA at (540) 342-6730. We will only schedule appointments to help minimize exposure between members of the community. We have created a website https://rvspca.org/roanoke-valley-spca-response-plan-for-covid-19 to keep the public up to date on the ever changing situation surrounding COVID-19.”
Staff at the Roanoke Valley SPCA practice infection prevention daily at the shelter but employees have recently increased sanitation practices to keep humans and animals safe.
“We have added additional trips around the facility to sanitize commonly touched surfaces such as light switches, door handles, etc. and we are of course limiting access to the building.
In addition, staff is working in pandemic buddies or teams. These teams limit the exposure of staff to one another in the event that we do have a staff (member) exposed, we are not potentially out our entire staff, simply their pandemic team. This helps us ensure continuity of operations and animal care.”
Roanoke Valley SPCA officials made the difficult decision to cancel tomorrow’s annual Tail Chaser 5K but Hayes says you can still help.
“Registrants can participate virtually, but this change has taken a toll on our organizational budget. Tail Chaser was budgeted to bring in $20,000 to the organization for the care of pets in need. Now more than ever, financial support is needed. As the financial situation in our community is strained we also anticipate an increase on the demand of our pet food pantry. Donations of dry dog and cat food are much appreciated.”
She says now is a good time for pet owners to prepare for the future.
“We ask that folks remember their pets in their COVID-19 planning-supplies, medications, etc. But also, should someone need to be hospitalized for COVID-19 they need to have a plan in place now for who will care for their pet.”
***If you recently adopted a new dog and would like to begin training or want the new member of your family to have a break during the day, The Well-Trained Dog & Pet Care is open for business. We are walking dogs and doing in-home training. We're now proud to offer online training for those who are participating in social distancing. Contact us at (540) 353-2485 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.