Care and Comfort for Animals

07 May 2020 | 10:20

It’s been a strange few weeks in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak for everyone, including our pets and the many homeless animals in need. While much of our lives have become unrecognizable, we’re also seeing heroes emerge. It’s not just the amazing individuals on the front lines of the health crisis. It’s people who recognize a need and step in. And that’s just what so many of our big-hearted neighbors have done by taking in the deserving animals we serve at Bideawee, one of the country’s oldest and most respected animal welfare and pet adoption organizations.

Whether on a temporary or permanent basis, New Yorkers and Long Islanders have stepped up in a big way by fostering and adopting. So many people feel helpless and are looking for ways to be impactful. Adopting and fostering an animal can be a significant way to help our animals be in a loving home and to ensure the health and safety of Bideawee staff and the public at large.

We’re currently processing adoptions by appointment only. Our dedicated matchmakers and our foster families have teamed up to do initial meet and greets via Zoom. In person meetings with pets are done by appointment only and are set up to ensure social distancing protocols are followed.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the responsibility our staff feels in making the best animal/human connection possible. With that in mind, it’s vital that people really evaluate their capacity for bringing in a four-legged family member. It may not be the right time. And that’s OK. At Bideawee, we’re not just concerned about placing our animals in homes, but rather placing them in the right homes.

Since we shifted to adoption by appointment, we’ve already placed more than 60 animals in new forever homes. We received more than 700 foster applications and nearly all of our animals are currently in foster homes. We have had to temporarily suspended our foster application submissions due to the overwhelming response. But, when we do open up submissions again, we encourage New Yorkers to consider fostering.

One of the most heartwarming things we’ve experienced is seeing some of Bideawee’s most long-stay/difficult-to-adopt pets finding their forever home during the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s encouraging to know that even when the public is feeling so vulnerable, they’re remembering that these animals need care and comfort too. And these dogs and cats are finally able to be the wonderful pets we always knew they could be.

It’s important to remember that animals are also affected by the changes we’ve been experiencing. Maintaining a schedule for food, walks, and play time can help keep them calm and relaxed.

It’s wonderful to give our love and time to our pet, but people often overlook the amazing comfort and joy animals bring to us – especially in uncertain times. The human-animal bond can bring about a symbiotic healing process at this time and always.

While it’s amazing to know our animals are in good homes, the reality is, any one of us can be affected by COVID-19 or some other ailment that prevents us from providing for our animals. Bideawee recommends having a care plan for your animal. Designate a caregiver who can take your pet should you require hospitalization. Create a document that includes health information, medications, special instructions and other important details about your pet and post this information in a visible location. Create a "Go Bag" for each pet with food, leashes/harnesses, extra medication, vaccination records and veterinary contact info so your pet can be moved quickly if needed. Ask your vet for extra medication so you don’t run out. And ensure all vaccinations are up to date in case your pet requires boarding.

Taking care of the animals we love is more important than ever. NYC residents can contact the NYC COVID-19 Pet Hotline for information and support during the COVID-19 pandemic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily by calling 877-204-8821 or by visiting nyc.gov and searching for "pets."And, of course, if you go to bideawee.org, you’ll find out about pets available for adoption and other ways you can provide support.

Leslie Granger is the President and CEO of Bideawee

Since we shifted to adoption by appointment, we’ve already placed more than 60 animals in new forever homes. We received more than 700 foster applications and nearly all of our animals are currently in foster homes.