Crisis fostering helps COVID-affected pets

Humane Indiana program proves successful during pandemic

information provided by Humane Indiana

MUNSTER, Ind. (June 26, 2020) – While many businesses and organizations have pivoted to virtual meetings and events during the COVID-19 pandemic, that option is not possible for Humane Indiana’s Shelter.

In late March Humane Indiana’s entities temporarily closed—including the Animal Shelter and Resale & Consignment Shoppe—for the safety of staff. Shelter staff worked to place homeless shelter pets with foster families.

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In May, many of those pets were adopted by their foster families, while others found homes through a new “virtual” adoption process. “At this time, the shelter is not open to the general public, but our new ‘virtual’ adoption process supports our mission to continue to help the animals; they still need us,” said Brian Fitzpatrick, Humane Indiana CEO.

“Keeping our staff and adopters safe from the virus is of utmost importance to our organization,” he explained. The virtual adoptions include meet-and-greets by Zoom, and in-person meets and pick-ups of the animals are managed by appointment only.

Throughout the quarantine, Humane Indiana continued to provide food and supplies for foster families and for pet owners and animal organizations in need in the community. But as the world changed, so did the need in the community. Some pet owners were directly affected by COVID-19, amping up the need for the shelter’s Crisis Foster Program. “We’re finding that some families are going through difficulties because of COVID and need help with their pets,” said Shelter Director Jessica Petalas-Hernandez. “We’ve had to safely bring those pets to some pretty compassionate foster families who want to help these pets stay with their families, because that’s always our goal—to keep these beloved pets with their families.”

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Over the past few years, Humane Indiana’s Crisis Foster Program has offered temporary pet care for owners in traumatic life situations. Petalas-Hernandez says five families have been helped through the program in the last month. “Crisis Fostering has helped their peace of mind while they work through their situations; they know their pets are safe and being cared for, and it’s one less thing for them to worry about,” she added.

More information about Humane Indiana and the Crisis Foster Program is available at HumaneIndiana.org.

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