With most states under stay at home orders, greyhound adoption groups are especially challenged. Usually during National Greyhound Adoption Month, adoption and fund raising events are in full swing. With social distancing expected to be in place for several more weeks or months, things look a lot different this year. But just because it is not business as usual for us doesn’t mean the need is less. Here are some ways you can help your local adoption group during this time:
1. ADOPT If you have room and resources to adopt now, it would be a greyt time to give a Greyhound a new lease on life.
2. FOSTER Maybe you are not able to commit to another mouth to feed right now, so please consider fostering. Fostering right now can both save an animal and help keep workers and volunteers safe. The fewer animals that are waiting, the fewer staff (or volunteers) need to be taking care of them. Most groups provide dog food to foster families if needed.
If you do foster, consider offering to show off your fosters on Facebook Live. How about a virtual meet-and-greet with other foster families participating?
3. VOLUNTEER Adoption groups always need volunteers, but they are especially needed in these days when so many people are ill or self-isolating, or overwhelmed with essential jobs or taking care of family.
4. GIVE If you are in a position to donate money, awesome! But you can help in lots of other ways too. Always shop on Amazon Smile – on your desktop, start at smile.amazon.com and designate your favorite group to receive a percentage of all your purchases done through Smile.
You can also set up a fundraiser for your favorite non-profit on Facebook – You Tube has numerous videos on how to do it.
Have you heard of pet food banks? The ASPCA has started a "Keep Families Together" donation drive to support mobile pet food banks. The Humane Society is working in Oregon, Indiana and Texas to identify food banks that are in need of pet food and is attempting to secure donations. Do an internet search in your area, or check with your local group.
5. DROP-OFF DONATIONS like towels, blankets, and dog food may be very welcome, but reach out to your group and see what are their current needs. Our group was recently looking for muzzles and crates for fosters.
6. SUBSCRIBE to your group’s newsletter. As their needs change, they can keep everyone up to date. Consider sharing with your network.
7. FOLLOW ON SOCIAL Even if you can’t give or donate during this time, someone in your social network may be able to help. Consider following your local group and share their social posts. The power of social media can truly make an impact on the animal welfare community and Greyhounds specifically.
8. SHARE YOUR OWN STORY Did you adopt a dog through a group? Share details on social media. People love to read stories about their favorite breed, along with pictures or videos. Giving a shout-out to your group will remind people that the need is on-going. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough sweet or funny stories about Greythounds.
9. CHECK IN ON NEIGHBORS In tough economic times, more pets are typically relinquished. Groups are bracing for a rise in the number of dogs whose owners are too sick or poor to provide care. Consider checking in on your neighbors and fellow adopters by phone or email to see if they need pet supplies. We’re in this together.
10. FOLLOW CDC GUIDELINES The fastest way to slow the impact to the adoption groups and shelters is to minimize the risk of catching and transmitting COVID-19. In fact, staying at home is making quite an impact during this pandemic. Wear a mask when going out, wash your hands and disinfect surfaces.
One thing to note about COVID-19, it seems to be rare that humans infect animals with it. It has happened, especially with a few cats, but dogs seem to be less susceptible. On April 28, it was reported that Winston, a pug from North Carolina, had tested positive and had very mild symptoms. He is the first dog in the US known to have COVID-19. His family was part of a study at Duke University, and they tested positive. Ordinarily, dogs are not tested but because the family was in the study, the pets were tested – Winston was positive, the other dog and the cat were not. The son told CBS News that Winston "licks all of our dinner plates and sleeps in my mom's bed, and we're the ones who put our faces into his face. So, it makes sense that he got" the virus. Common sense would dictate that if you are suspicious about having the virus yourself or are infected, try to refrain from physical contact with your pet because there is more risk that you can infect them than they can infect you. If it is possible, ask for help from a family member or a friend to take care of your dog until you get better. All pet owners are encouraged to identify caretakers who can help with pet care if they can no longer meet their responsibilities. I think we can all agree that pets should always be part of family emergency preparedness plans.
It seems unlikely that hounds will infect their people, although more research is needed. According to the CDC, “At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19.” Only their unconditional love is contagious.
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