Pets are always going to suffer the effects of the novel Coronavirus the most. Not because the virus is targeting our furry friends, but basically because it has been coming for us – the humans. And when we aren’t feeling too good ourselves, there is little we can do to care or look after our four-legged buddies.
As a result of the spread of COVID-19, many pets have been orphaned (lost their owners to the virus), many have been sent to shelters, and in states where the shelters are getting shut down, many are rendered homeless. And even those who’re still lucky to have their owners around might find it hard to survive during this period, as most pet owners may not be able to afford pet food and vet care, due to many losing their jobs.
Thankfully, many experts and concerned individuals in the pet industry are now taking matters into their own hands and tending to the needs of affected pets, so that they don’t all get swept away by the wave of this novel virus.
That said, here’s how the pet industry is helping out during these trying times.
Providing Free Pet Foods and Supplies
Recognizing the fact that most local families are currently going through economic hardship, many experts in the pet industry have started taking measures to ensure that pets are not left uncatered to.
For example, James McLaughlin, director of the Pittsylvania Pet Center opened a pet food pantry to provide food supplies to those local families who could not afford to cater to the needs of their pets, maybe as a result of job loss, or pet parents falling victim to the virus. He did this in the hopes that it would reduce the number of pets that are being sent to the shelters.
Within three hours of distributing these supplies on its opening day, the pantry distributed 600 pounds of pet food. Ever since that day, it has been receiving donations from individuals and nonprofits to help sustain the growing demands.
But James McLaughlin is not alone in this act.
The San Diego Humane Society also pledged to share over 70,000 pounds of pet food and supplies, including litters for cats, paper towels for small pups – such as the Goldendoodle puppies – vet kits to sick pets, cages, and treats. In Louisville, Kentucky, the Kentucky Humane Society launched a COVID-19 Pet Food Bank – thanks to the donations it received from various pet food brands and Amazon Wish List – to provide free pet foods.
In New York and New Jersey, dog food manufacturer, Holi Chow, also recognized the need to support pets in these harsh times. They donated 8,000 pounds of dog food to shelters and rescues in the aforementioned regions.
Providing Free and Low-Cost Vet Services
While some brands and individuals were busy distributing supplies to affected pets, several other people like Peter Chun were tending to the needs of pets at their clinic for free. Peter Chun, CEO of Veterinary Care Group, recognized that so many families are being impacted by the spread of the novel virus. As a result, the group launched free wellness examinations at all 12 of its New York locations to pet owners who lost their jobs as a result of the Pandemic. The group offers examinations of all pets, including golden mini doodles or other breeds of dogs, cats, and rabbits.
In a recent event that happened at one of the clinics of the group, a laid-off restaurant employee who brought his sick dog for examinations began crying when he heard the staff saying that there was no charge for the visit.
Rescues and Shelters are not getting left out
Needless to say that shelters are now getting closed down in the bid to curb the spread of the virus. However, in the face of this shutdown, many have found a way to go about their foster and adoption programs, such that affected pets are not left unattended.
Many shelters are now running virtual and remote operations to get adoptable pets into forever homes. Although it has not been a rollercoaster ride for them so far, many of these shelters have been able to operate just fine, thanks to the creativity of those working in the establishments.
In a bid to get adoptable pets into loving homes, shelters have been running several programs such as virtual adoption fairs, name-your-price adoption events, and drive-through foster pickups.