Indonesian volunteers shelter pets of COVID patients

Gledis the pitbull spent two days home alone and without food in Indonesia's capital Jakarta before volunteers found her.

The country is battling one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia, and Gledis' owner is one of many who have tested positive.

Pets are sometimes left in limbo by owners who are hospitalized or put in isolation.

However, animal rights group Animal Defender is working to put sick and anxious pet owners at ease.

Doni Hedaru founded the group.

"We adjust the way we help according to the needs of the pet owners. Either we evacuate and take care of the pets permanently, or we take care of it temporarily like Gledis. We help feed them, clean the cage or bathe the dogs. We do everything according to the owner's request."

With uncertainty about the coronavirus - and concerns about its transmission - some panicked owners feel they have no choice but to abandon their pets.

But one vet actually encourages owners to take their pets with them for stress relief.

That is, if they can keep from petting them.

"My advice is, do not hug and kiss the dogs because they may carry the droplets with coronavirus. That doesn't mean the dog is sick but it can be a carrier."

Animal Defender has helped forty pet dogs and a handful of cats since they began last month.

Doni says pets are usually returned upon their owner's recovery.

He doesn't think the scariest part of the job is catching COVID.

Instead, it's when he finds out that an owner has died - meaning their pets are abandoned for good.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting