We all are aware that we should be staying inside due to the coronavirus and the hope that some social distancing can help to flatten the curve. Now that people are home alone, they may be craving some company, and since people are out of the question, pets are stepping up to fill the loneliness void.
Since there are more people at home these days, founder of Susie’s Senior Dogs in New York, Erin Stanton, is trying to do her best pairing potential fosters with older dogs. Her non-profit is offering assistance with cost and fees in exchange for people to step up and foster older dogs while in quarantine.
As Stanton said, “We are all being affected by this, humans and animals. People are going to be in their homes a lot more and it can be depressing. Fostering can be something to do, something distracting. It doesn’t have to be as depressing. It can be a win-win. Animals bring so much joy to people.”
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On March 16th Susie’s Senior Dogs posted a social media appeal for fosterers, by offering to cover the cost of food, supplies, spay/neutering fees and any needed medications for people who foster, for however long they’re able to foster a dog for. The dogs are 6 years or older, and all come from a 501c3 rescue or shelter.
Stanton’s offer is coming at a critical time when animal shelters everywhere are desperate to either find forever homes or foster homes for as many of their animals as possible, since the pandemic is forcing many shelters to either reduce their staff or close their doors. Stanton revealed to CNN that an immediate need for help is dire.
As she stated, “People are getting laid off or don’t know if they will be laid off. Fostering can add up. If that’s the only thing, financial uncertainty, that would be hindering them from fostering – that’s where I now want to step in.”
Stanton began her non-profit after she, and her husband, rescued their first senior dog in 2011 – Susie.
She said, “When people learned that Susie was brought home as a senior dog, the response was always the same: shock, surprise, and curiosity.”
Stanton searched around doing some research and found that there were plenty of older dogs who were up for adoption, however, they were often overlooked in favor of other dogs, as Stanton said they would normally, “get lost among the cute puppies and younger dogs.” Susie’s Senior Dogs was started as a way to bring older dogs to the forefront and give them a chance at finding a forever home too. In fact, since 2014, the non-profit has re-homed more than 2,500 senior dogs.
She said, “Not a lot of people are interested in adopting older dogs. Of course, they are not going to live as long and health issues might come up sooner, but older dogs tend to be mellow couch potatoes. Most are trained. The biggest benefit is knowing you are providing a home for an animal that has probably gotten passed over hundreds of times. Giving them a home just feels good.”
However, since posting her appeal, Stanton has seen at least a hundred people express interest.
As she said, “If you have a dog to feed and take on a potty break, figure out what it needs. It can make the next couple of weeks or months or whatever a little better. [The current situation] is a very daunting feeling and anxiety-inducing, but for people that have the time and want to, it can be a great way to take your mind off it and make the best of the situation — for the dog and for them.”
So, if you are in a position to foster, definitely reach out to your local shelters and rescues and see how you can help do your part. This pandemic requires us to all come together as a community to help one another – including the animals.