Pet adoptions still happening in Durham during COVID-19

The Humane Society of Durham Region in Whitby. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Danielle Johnson.

While the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty (OSPCA) remains closed and is not proceeding with adoptions, other shelters are still finding homes for animals during this time.

The OSPCA has 12 shelters located in Ontario and, despite being closed, staff members are going into the shelters every day and caring for the animals.

They are choosing to not adopt out any animals at this time as they believe it is unsafe to do so during the pandemic, according to Kallie Milleman, communications development assistant for the OSPCA.

The Humane Society of Durham Region (HSDR) has chosen to also close its shelter, but is still proceeding with adoptions, according to manager Danielle Johnson.

“We’ve been very lucky; our adoption rates have remained very steady throughout COVID-19,” says Johnson.

People now have to go online to view the animals and fill out an application, as the process has turned virtual. With more time to review the website, some people are finding animals that may have been overlooked at the shelter.

“We’ve actually been able to get some of our longer stay animals adopted,” says Johnson.

The HSDR adoption process is following strict guidelines to ensure the safety of all parties involved in the process, with little human interaction.

The main reason people want to adopt an animal is to have companionship during this time but also to rescue an animal, Johnson explains.

“We believe that adoption is one of the essential services,” she says. “It’s important that the animals that we take in have a positive outcome.”

More people may be thinking of adopting during the pandemic; however, it is important to consider life after the lockdown, especially for the pet.

“I think it’s important to think about all the same things that are affecting your family right now,” Johnson says. “You may have time right now, but what does that look like for the animal when you get back to a normal basis.”

There has been an increase in people asking to foster animals during the pandemic, according to Johnson.

“Fostering can be a great option for people that are looking for companionship during the pandemic, but not a long-term commitment,” says Johnson.

Elizabeth Lebel is a foster parent for the HSDR. Lebel lives in Durham Region and has one other member in the household. She spends most of her time at home and has a love for cats.

Lebel has fostered 37 animals in total and says that with the shelter providing resources to do the caring, there’s little that prevents someone from fostering.

“I think fostering is a really special journey to be on. It isn’t always the easiest, but it is always rewarding,” she says. “The animals you bring into your home and care for are always so deserving of the care they need.”