After the coronavirus pandemic hit, most Guam residents were told to stay out of public spaces, steer clear of holiday gatherings, study from home and socially distance themselves.
Social distancing wiped clear personal calendars, leaving many residents at home with nothing but time to fill. Some started gardening or baking.
Somr have turned to furry companions to beat back the boredom and loneliness of COVID-confinement.
“While it’s not necessary to be around an animal 24-7, now that people are home much more, they’re finding that they have a lot of flexibility to take care of an animal companion,” said Cyrus Luhr, president of the Guam Animals in Need board.
GAIN reported 74 animals in foster care at the beginning of December. “
That number has been very consistent since the start of the pandemic, ranging between 68 to 78 at the end of every month,” Luhr said.
More families have chosen to foster, then adopt the animals, leaving the shelter to replenish foster homes at the end of every month, sending more animals into warm homes.
“About 20% of our adoptions this year are this sort of scenario,” Luhr said.
More adoptions may be working out, Luhr said, in part because parents are working from home or have children who need something to do. Fostering also works out well for those who can only help out during the pandemic.
“It’s the karma that one gets from giving,” Luhr said. “You are both able to help your local animal shelter and animals that need homes, and in return the animals provide companionship.”
Read more on Guam’s furry friends and how you can adopt:
At the animal shelter, the staff matches requests and animals as they become available. Dogs, cats and rabbits are sent out for fostering.
In most cases, families may want to foster an animal for a few weeks or months before returning the animal to a shelter. In other cases, a family may have time at home to complete high-need cases.
“Maybe they’re kittens that need to be bottled every two hours,” Luhr said.
A foster relationship not only provides people with a companion, but it also offers them entertainment and a way to control an unmoored life. Even if a routine is disrupted, animals still have to be fed, walked and cleaned.
“Even the best animal shelter will never replace the comfort and care of being in a home,” Luhr said.