As we are all still being advised to stay at home if we can, there is only so much TV you can watch on your own, and so many cute kitten videos you can view on Youtube.
Sooner or later, some people will wonder what it might be like to have a kitten or puppy of their own. After all, you’re going to have plenty of time to train them, get to know them and, in the case of puppies, use them as an excuse to go outdoors.
But what happens after the Lockdown is unlocked? Can you bear the thought of leaving your new BFFF (best furry friend forever) alone while you are back at the coalface?
There is a compromise. The RSPCA and some other animal shelters will give you the chance to look after abandoned pets that need some special attention or, in these days of social isolation and reduced staffing, simply can’t be given the levels of TLC they would normally enjoy.
“The RSPCA’s foster care program helps to give our animals a new start to a better life,” says the organisation’s website.
“Foster carers provide temporary homes for animals that are not yet ready to go to a new, permanent home for a variety of reasons, and help ensure those animals are healthy and happy without having to remain in a shelter environment until their adoption.”
“There are many pets in dire need of a home,” says Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia. “With so many people being home-bound, now is a perfect time to consider adopting or fostering a pet.”
Understandably, she says, many shelters across Australia are unable to operate as per normal. Some are only able to have skeleton staff to look after the care and welfare of the animals in their care and are calling on Australians to consider opening their homes to help love and care for these abandoned pets.
“Not only is this a great thing for the shelter pets, it’s also wonderful for Australian households,” Nadia says. “It’s common knowledge that pets can offer us unconditional love and happiness, but it’s scientifically proven that they can also offer us much more.”
So, first check out your apartment blocks’ pet policy and then , if you get the all-clear, log on to the RSPCA’s fostering link or contact a nearby animal shelter and see if you’ve got what they need.
Nadia also says there is no better time that now to consider bringing a companion animal into your life permanently, especially since it’s good for your body as well as your soul, none more so than for the isolated oldies in our communities.
For instance, she says, dog owners have shown to have a lower risk of suffering from strokes and heart failure. Just patting a dog or cat can reduce stress and lower blood pressure, and there’s evidence to show that interacting with pets can lead to reduced anxiety and depression, decreased feelings of isolation and loneliness and even pain reduction.
On the positive side, having a pet can also help increase self-esteem, social skills, motor functions, mobility and fitness. And they are great for kids, providing a fun and entertaining distraction during difficult times.
“Having a pet can actually help get us through these incredibly tough times,” Nadia says. “I think many pet owners will know how comforting and important being around their pet is.”
But what about when all this is over and it’s time to go back to work? Well, pet-friendly workplaces have been on the rise for years and are expected to boom in the coming years.
“Many pet-friendly workplaces have shown how much it can help to have a pet in the workplace,” Nadia says.
“If you have ever considered adopting and abandoned pet, now could be the perfect time to add a little fluff and fur into your life,” she says. “Get in touch with your local shelter and find out how you can offer a pet a forever home.”