DIGITAL ORIGINAL: What to consider before adopting a COVID-19 companion

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — As COVID-19 confines people to their homes and restricts human interaction, many have been turning to pets for companionship. Entering this holiday season amid the Coronavirus pandemic, there are several factors to consider before adopting a new furry family member.

Leann Quire is the director of shelter operations for Humane Pennsylvania. She manages the Humane Society of Berks County and the Humane League of Lancaster County. Quire emphasizes the importance of finding a pet that matches one’s lifestyle both now and post-pandemic.

“If you’re a couch potato, you want to match with an animal that’s going to be a couch potato with you. If you’re really active, then there’s definitely animals that need a more active lifestyle” Quire says.

And it’s important to consider life after COVID-19. Quire advises, “Think about, what was your lifestyle like before the pandemic, and is that going to be like what it is after?”

Quire says there are pros and cons to adopting during the pandemic. On the plus side, animals find homes, and pet owners have more time to train and bond with pets as they get accustomed to their new lives. However, some pets — especially dogs — may be shocked when their owners return to “normal” life and aren’t always around.

While people may be home more now due to COVID-19 or the holidays, the pandemic won’t last forever (despite how it may feel), says Quire. As people prepare to return to work or school, she suggests spending some time away from pets so they can get used to being home alone.

“Go to the mailbox, then start to make it longer. Maybe go down the road for a walk by yourself. When you go pick up your groceries, don’t take them with,” suggests Quire.

For those who want a COVID-19 companion but aren’t quite ready for a long-term commitment, Quire says fostering an animal can be a great option. Dogs and cats can be fostered, and so can other animals like guinea pigs or rabbits, says Quire.

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