If, like most of us, you’ve started spending a lot more time at home lately, you might have felt the urge to bring a (or another) four-legged friend into your life.
While it might seem tempting to adopt a new best friend while you spend the foreseeable future on the couch, you should make sure you’ve thought it through.
RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson said with many Canberrans now working from home, it is the perfect time to think about either adopting an animal, or, if you’re not able to commit long-term, becoming a temporary carer if the RSPCA needs to activate their foster network.
“In the first instance we are encouraging anyone ready to adopt to take the next step! Now is a perfect time to settle in a new family member and give them all the love and attention they deserve. However, we must remind people to think of the long-term commitment it takes to owning a pet,” she said.
“You’ll have plenty of quality time to spend with your newfound friend, which will help with their socialisation and settling in, or, where fostering, help prepare them for when we are able to find their forever home.”
Ms Robertson said the COVID-19 crisis has forced RSPCA ACT to face the “serious idea” that they could be forced to close their shelter doors to the public, with over 240 animals in their care.
“Of course, this does not mean our animals will be without care, but it does mean that animals will be here for longer, impacting funds that we use to help care for the thousands of other animals we see every year,” she said.
“The duration of a foster placement can vary from a few weeks to many months and will depend on each animal’s needs. With the unknown ahead of us, we will be looking for loving families ready to care for animals for an uncertain amount of time. We will provide all foster families with essential items such as food, litter, medicines, toys and bedding to ensure animals will settle into their care.”
The ability for animals to help with human stress is well documented, and RSPCA ACT said a foster pet can be a great way to de-stress during this uncertain period.
“Our dogs give us the opportunity to get out into fresh air and exercise by walking them (maintaining good social distancing) which can be great for our mental health.
“Pets are also known to improve our mood, help control our blood pressure, give us social support and prevent us feeling lonely. And let’s not forget the unconditional love they give us, even when we’re trying to work from home.”
For more information on adopting or fostering an animal, visit the RSPCA ACT website.