Demand for Pets Spike During Stay-At-Home Order
When the COVID-19 crisis emerged, Azure Davis began to worry about what was to become of her nonprofit Ruff Start Rescue.
Ruff Start Rescue, located in Princeton, finds homes for dogs, cats and critters. The organization serves all of Minnesota including Pets Under Police Security (PUPS) in Maple Grove.
“We had no idea what COVID would mean for the rescue, it’s nerve wracking,” Davis said.
But shortly after Gov. Tim Walz issued a stay-at-home order, Ruff Start Rescue’s site flooded with foster and adoption applications.
“In one month we received over 300 new foster applications. That’s the same amount we get in a year,” Davis said.
Davis further explained that last month, they received 1,000 adoption applications. That’s 500 more than March of 2019.
“It’s a different time, we’re trying to keep up with it. We’re still trying to get animals into rescue and it really is a silver lining,” Davis said “It’s great for the animals.”
However, once the pandemic is over and everyone goes back to work, Davis is concerned that families will return pets. Davis and her team are working hard to set families up for success.
“They can start planning now and get their dogs and cats use to the idea of them leaving,” Davis said. “We’re telling people to put the dog in a crate now even though families are home all day. They need some alone time that way it’s going to make it that much easier for when you go back to work.”
Due to the pandemic, Ruff Start Rescue has transitioned to virtual visits with fosters and adopters. Davis said it’s been efficient and they plan to keep doing it even after COVID-19 subsides.
“I think the adopters love it too. It’s less invasive of someone coming to their home and it just takes less time. We can line it up quicker, which ultimately means animals get adopted quicker,” Davis said.
To prevent the spread of any illness, fosters and adopters are asked to stay in their car while and a staff will bring the pet to them.
Davis is urging people to continue to apply because it’s uncertain what will happen once the pandemic is over.
“The more foster we have the better, because there are animals who need help. We’re trying to save them as quick as possible,” Davis said.
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