clear the shelters

Animals Still Available at San Diego Humane Society; Here’s How to Adopt Amid the Pandemic

One SDHS employee says a pet offers great companionship, which is especially helpful amid the stay at home orders

A close-up of a dog paw "holding hands" with a human companion
Stock photo via Getty Images

What to Know

  • Services at San Diego Humane Society are still available an on appointment-only basis.
  • Pets make for great companionship and can help teach children who are at home about responsibility.
  • SDHS is offering support to families in financial need by distributing pet food.

The San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) is taking a different approach when it comes to adoptions due to the novel coronavirus but nevertheless, locals can still adopt a furry, scaly or feathery friend if they’d like to welcome a new member to their family.

While many San Diego residents are staying indoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent contracting it, it can be a bit lonely to be following stay at home orders. Government guidance states to avoid gathering in groups of more than three and to keep a 6-feet distance from one another out of an abundance of caution.

Why a pet may be good to have during these times

Social distancing has become essential these days for safety and with the recommended guidelines, it can be difficult to fulfill social needs. Adopting a pet, however, can offer companionship and happiness.

“There are so many benefits to adopting a pet,” SDHS News Center Manager, Nina Thompson, told NBC 7. “There are studies that say pets are good for our health since they help lower our stress, lower our levels of cortisol and they’re great company.”

Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, children have been staying home so adopting a pet now can teach them valuable life skills.

“Having a pet can help teach your kids responsibility, too,” Thompson said. “Now may be a really good time to teach them important skills; practical skills like walking, feeding and watching over them.”

Although it can be easy to get swept away with the idea of adopting a new pet, Thompson reminds prospective adopters that having a pet is a serious commitment.

“It’s a long-term commitment so we want to emphasize that adopting a pet is a relationship, but it’ll be the best relationship you’ll have,” she said.

Thompson advises people to reflect on their lifestyle and interests before decided which kind of animal to take home to see which kind of pet would best fit in.

“There’s no such thing as a perfect pet, but there’s a perfect love for your imperfect pet,” she said.

Rancho Coastal Humane Society dropped by the studio with a 1-year-old Chihuahua, “Mighty Mouse”, who needs a furever home.

How to adopt a pet from SDHS right now

Following the government’s guidance in staying home and not having crowds gather, SDHS is taking appointments for prospective adopters.

The current process involves individuals calling the animal shelter to express interest in a specific pet, receiving a callback from an adoption counselor in which they will undergo an interview and get more information on the pet they are seeking, then scheduling an appointment to have an interaction with the animal.

Once a pet is adopted, Thompson advises new owners to have two weeks’ worth of supplies for your new companion as part of emergency preparedness.

“Now is the time to stock up on a bit of food and make sure their vaccines are up to date, they have their medicine on hand, pictures, that their microchips are up to date,” she said. “Make sure you have a to-go kit for them.”

Pet owners who may be struggling financially due to the coronavirus’ impact on the economy can depend on the Humane Society for assistance. Right now, the animal shelter is distributing pet food to families in need from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“As this situation is evolving, I would encourage pet owners to look at us as a resource,” Thompson said. “Our goal is to keep pets and their owners together. If you have any concerns, we’re here for you.”

Kate Rivera had an instant connection with this husky, so she decided to adopt her from the Irvine Animal Care Center during Clear the Shelters.

What SDHS is doing to keep safe amid the pandemic

In an effort to follow government guidance, the majority of operations at SDHS are appointment-only, such as stray intake, licensing a pet and vaccines. The animal shelter took these methods into action last week and will continue to do so until further notice.

The appointment-only approach is to limit the number of foot traffic that goes into the shelter on a daily basis. Rather than consult for adoptions at its designated building, SDHS is speaking with individuals at separate locations throughout the facility to keep people at a safe distance from one another.

Because the shelter is practicing social distancing, it asks families to refrain from showing up to their animal interaction together and instead have one household member arrive if possible. Thompson said if that is not feasible, the shelter will work with those families to create a solution.

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