San Diego Humane Society

Furry Lining of the Stay-at-Home Order

Study: Animal shelters see a sharp spike in animal fostering

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“I think this is the furry lining of the stay-at-home order,” said Bree Steffen when asked if this was a silver lining to California’s stay-at-home order.

Steffen and her boyfriend Sean Harris spoke to NBC 7 via FaceTime. Both have been in quarantine since the Pacific Beach couple returned from a European vacation. The coronavirus pandemic swept the planet while they were overseas.

“I freaked out because we were in Zurich on our way to Ireland,” said Steffen.

Making matters worse, their dog, Byron was in Arizona with Sean’s parents and the couple couldn’t retrieve him until their quarantine ended.

Steffen and Harris were locked indoors, alone, for two weeks.

“It can get a little dicey,” said Harris about the 600-square-foot home.

They rolled the dice on fostering a cat and joined a growing number of Americans fostering shelter animals. Silvia, a black and white cat, showed up shortly after they returned home from Europe.

“We had something else to focus on,” said Harris.

According to a recent study by PetPoint, pet fosters increased 93% nationwide during the third week in March. Steffen, who works for the San Diego Humane Society said nearly 40% of their animals are currently with foster parents -- the most in the local organization’s history.

“Pretty amazing that people are using this opportunity to help animals and I feel like the animals are helping them, too,” she said. “It gets the animals out of a shelter and into a home where they can be loved on constantly and they can just chill and relax.”

Steffen recorded video of Silvia and shared it on social media.

“I was able to do a little video showing her how she is in an actual home,” said Steffen.

The black cat never finished the quarantine with the couple.

“Silvia was actually just adopted. Yay! So, it worked,” said a smiling Harris and Steffen.

It was the silver lining to a quarantine made even better with some black fur.

Steffen and Harris completed their CDC-mandated quarantine Monday.  They said they plan to retrieve their dog in Arizona and then foster a dog.  Their current dog doesn’t like cats.

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