We watched as China, then Italy, then the rest of Europe has grappled with the novel Coronavirus, aka COVID-19. Now a global pandemic, the virus has made its way into our home county and has affected each of us in one way or another. During this time, we need to draw together to protect the most vulnerable among us—and that includes the many of homeless pets who live in Miami-Dade.
Our open-intake county shelter has been forced to change their hours of operation and operating procedures, like many other organizations; this means that adoption events have been cancelled, and there are fewer adopters and volunteers coming in to help with the socialization of pets. Yet animals are still arriving on their doorstep daily, either found as strays, confiscated in cruelty or neglect cases, or surrendered by owners. As a community, we must help these innocent souls who will suffer unnecessarily if we don’t step up.
Here’s what you can do:
Foster a Dog or Cat
Right now, the county is doing one-on-one foster trainings in a sanitized, conscious setting for individuals and families who want to foster a shelter pet. You can even apply to foster from the comfort of your couch, right here on our website! Use your extra time and energy during social distancing to care for an animal in need. Plus, a pet can provide companionship, physical touch, stress relief, and mental stimulation during this difficult time.
Host a Social Media Fundraiser
With many people out of work and the economy slowing down, non-profits will no doubt take a hit in fundraising this year. Facebook has made it easy to create a fundraiser for your favorite animal non-profit and share it with all of your friends. You can select FoMA (Friends of Miami Animals Foundation, Inc.) or a rescue that you trust. You can use the money you are saving on not eating out, deferred travel, and other activities to help save and improve the lives of our homeless pets! The funds will be used to provide supplies to our shelter’s pets during this time.
Send Supplies to the Shelter
Miami Dade Animal Services pets have needs that don’t stop during the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve created a wish list of the most urgent needs of the shelter on Amazon, so you can click the link and purchase any item you choose. Some are only a few dollars, and every item makes a difference! Once you purchase the item from this Amazon wish list, it will be sent directly to the shelter, so you can #StaySafe and #StayHome while providing for our homeless dogs and cats from afar. Even better—shop at smile.amazon.com and select FoMA as your charity of choice to give back to our foundation with every purchase. Here is the wish list: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2ZU0DB1G3Q8PL?ref=cm_sw_em_r_wl_dp_Ur9yNX4B2A056
Adopt a Dog or Cat Virtually
What’s better than online shopping while sheltering-in-place? Online adopting! Even if you can’t go to the shelter or to an adoption event to find your furever best friend, or the next four-legged addition to your family, you can browse dogs and cats at Miami-Dade Animal Services completely online here: bit.ly/petharbor. Once you find the dog or cat of your dreams, you can fill out an adoption application on our website, and then we will connect you with an adoption counselor at Miami-Dade Animal Services to arrange your meet-and-greet and pickup in a health and safety compliant manner. Now is a great time to introduce a new member of your family to your crew: with added time at home, your new pet will have a better adjustment period and the “getting to know you” phase can be accelerated. You’ll also have more time at home to train your dog as well.
Keep Yourself and Your Pets Safe
If you are already a pet owner, there are certain precautions you need to take in order to keep your pets safe and healthy during the social distancing time period. Make sure that you have reviewed the below checklist with the other members of your family and that you have plans in place should the worst happen:
- Contact your vet and get an update on their schedule so you know when they are open if you need to call or take your pet in
- Refrain from letting others touch your pets; there is not enough evidence to yet determine whether a pet can contract COVID-19, but we do know that pets can spread the disease when petted by an infected person through pet-to-human contact
- Make sure you have several weeks of supplies on hand for your pets, including food, wee-wee pads, and especially medications
- Try to keep your normal routine as similar as possible despite being home all day, so that your pet does not have anxiety about your schedule change when you return to work: Keep walk times, feeding times, etc. the same
- Make sure you have an emergency contact who can take your pets or help you care for them in the event that you contract COVID-19 and need to be quarantined
It goes without saying that this is no time to surrender your pet to Miami Dade Animal Services or any other shelter. Everyone in animal welfare is urging pet owners to make plans for any eventuality so they may keep their pets in their homes and families and in their care.
We know this is a scary time for all of us, but we also know the strength of our community and that if we come together, we will be stronger than ever. Let’s make sure our animals are not forgotten during this difficult time.