There’s hardly any better feeling than rescuing a pet in need, bringing it to its forever home, and giving it all of your love so it can live its best life. Well, get ready to go ‘aww’ and have your heart melt because Bored Panda has collected this month’s most wholesome adopted pet photos.
The silent heroes helping people rescue adorable pets in need are animal welfare organizations and shelters. So we reached out to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to talk about pet adoption, as well as how animal shelters are rising to the challenge presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Adoptions Promotions Manager at the ASPCA, Kelly DiCicco, told Bored Panda all about the immense strain that American animal shelters are under right now.
Scroll down for the full interview, upvote your fave pics, and share photos of your own rescue pets in the comment section below. And if you’re having a particularly tough day at school or at work, then we’ve got some great news: you can overload yourself with cuteness with our earlier blessed rescue pet photos from June, May, April, March, February, and January.
Warning: Top-tier cuteness below!
Unfortunately, there are a lot of unwanted animals all over the world. In the United States alone, around 6.5 million companion animals enter the country’s shelters every single year. Roughly half of these are dogs while cats make up the other half. Though this is grim news, the situation has actually gotten better: the number has dropped from 7.2 million in 2011.
We spoke to DiCicco from the ASPCA about the biggest issues that people tend to have when considering pet adoption and what can be done to alleviate any worries.
“It should be expected that you’ll experience lifestyle changes over the course of the pet’s life, such as moving, having children or getting a new job, so it's important to consider how you will care for your pet during those changes before you add that pet to your family; many shelters offer various forms of support to answer questions you might have before you adopt, or afterward,” DiCicco explained.
“While each shelter is different, pets are generally assessed and then introduced to potential adopters based on the likelihood of compatibility. Every animal is an individual—even those within a specific species or breed—and shelter staff are experts at making matches that work. If you ultimately determine that now is not the best time to adopt, fostering can allow you to change an animal's life for the better and is a rewarding experience for those who choose to become caregivers.”
She continued: “We always encourage adopters to keep an open mind and heart when visiting a shelter or rescue; as you may walk out with a pet you'd never considered before, like a senior animal or an animal who looks nothing like what you originally had in mind. Adopting an animal from a shelter or local rescue organization saves more than one life by freeing up space and resources for another animal in need.”
Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has affected lots of American animal shelters. “Since it began, COVID-19 has put an immense amount of strain on animal shelters across the country. Because this is an ever-changing situation, each shelter is facing unique challenges specific to its community,” DiCicco explained to Bored Panda.
“Many shelters have reduced staffing due to social distancing requirements, which has meant reductions or limits to the number and types of services offered to the public. Additionally, shelters have felt the financial impacts of the pandemic, with reduced donations and an inability to host in-person fundraising events, which often play a key role in annual fundraising efforts,” she said.
The coronavirus crisis has created lots of problems. However, shelters are rising to the challenge and are using modern technology to overcome them and to help animals find their new forever homes.
“With hundreds of thousands of animals across the country currently in shelters, with rescue groups and in foster care, animal welfare organizations are implementing innovative solutions, including virtual or socially-distanced adoptions, online meet-and-greets using video chat, and minimal-contact drop-offs or pickups to help these animals find adoptive homes.”
Bored Panda wanted to find out how the adoption rate in 2020 compares to 2019. According to ASPCA’s very own DiCicco, there are some positive trends despite all of the difficulties.
“Adoption and foster rates vary throughout the year, depending on [various] factors, including the population of animals in an organization’s care and whether or not it’s feline breeding season when shelters see an influx of kittens.”
She continued: “The ASPCA did see an initial spike in adoptions in early March, although overall, we saw a decrease in adoptions amid the COVID-19 crisis. This is partly due to the fact that out of an abundance of caution related to the effects of COVID-19 across New York City, we have temporarily closed the ASPCA Adoption Center to the public. More recently, the ASPCA has been leaning on technology to place animals in loving homes safely using video conferencing, and our adoption process has shifted to meet the needs of pets and potential adopters in alignment with the CDC’s guidelines around social distancing.”
DiCicco said that the first few weeks of the stay-at-home orders across the US brought out the best in Americans. “We saw a heartwarming and heroic response from people looking to temporarily foster animals, including a nearly 70 percent increase in animals going into foster care through our NYC and Los Angeles foster programs, compared to the same period in 2019,” she said.
“As the pandemic stretches on, we continue to see growing interest from the public to temporarily foster animals in need. Those looking to foster or adopt should contact their local animal shelters to see what their specific needs are and how they can best help.”
So if you want an adorable rescue pet of your own or simply want to lend a helping hand, give your local animal shelter a ring or send them an email, dear Pandas.