Volunteers Rescue Pets Left Behind After Their Owners Contracted COVID-19

We’ve been living through something none of us ever imagined we would: a global pandemic. While countries are beginning to open back up, we’re still having to face the different ramifications of the pandemic. One of the problems that we’re facing deals directly with animals. There are many animal rescues and other animal groups that have had to step in to care for the countless pets left behind in the wake of owners going into the hospital.

New York was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. This has meant that there are many pet owners who’ve been going into the hospital for long periods of time, or worse. As a result, these organizations have had the monumental task of caring for the animals left behind. One of the veterinarians with Animal Care Centers of NYC, Dr. Robin Brennen, has been caring for helpless pets of New York, as The New York Times reported. It turns out that Dr. Brennen is a trained disaster responder who is well-versed in what to do in situations such as these. Going into homes to care for the pets means that she has the knowledge to properly navigate the tasks needed to feed and care for the isolated pets. Occasionally the group will have to assume custody of a pet because their owner passed away. There is an urgency to get to all the pets before it’s too late, but sadly there was a dog who starved to death before people were able to get to the residence. 

Most of these lonely pets have to rely on neighbors to sound the alarm. It’s often the building’s residents that call about pets. As The Times added, many of the patients that go into hospitals with COVID end up having to be intubated, which means they don’t get a chance to tell people that their pets are alone at home. It is usually after a few days when the animals are in distress that neighbors become alerted to the fact that there is an animal in the building that needs help. Because there is such an urgent need to help these abandoned pets, New York City’s emergency management, and animal welfare offices introduced a special hotline back in April. A phone line is a place where struggling owners can reach out for help with their pets amid the pandemic. Since being introduced, this hotline has resulted in the surrender of roughly 117 pets!

The sad reality is that the pandemic is far from over, which means that we’ll continue to see these surrenders and abandonments of pets as owners either pass away or go into hospital. While it’s wonderful to see animal lovers such as Dr. Brennen step up to take care of animals in need. 


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