LONG BEACH, CA — Many people are feeling anxious and worried, and struggling to keep their spirits up while being cooped up in their homes due to the new coronavirus — but this is how shelter dogs feel all the time, said Emily Peters, founder and president of Live Love Animal Rescue.
Luckily, Long Beach shelter dogs are getting some relief. All available dogs at the Long Beach Animal Care Shelter (LBACS), about 50 total, were matched and placed in new foster homes amid the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to animal rescue organizations Live Love Animal Rescue, Blockhead Brigade and Pitty Pawfessors.
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“People should always foster, but especially right now because you get the benefit of having a companion dog without the costs,” Peters said. “You have a whole support team around you.”
The emergency foster program was launched March 20 after LBACS closed to the public and reduced their on-site operations for the safety of staff and volunteers in an attempt to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Peters spent the last few days getting to know each shelter dog in order to match them with an appropriate foster, she said.
“Fosters can't come into the shelter to meet the dogs, so it’s been a logistical challenge on our end because we’re having to be really thorough in explaining the dogs to the fosters,” Peters said. “The fosters pull up right in front of the shelter to pick out the supplies they need, and we hand them the leash while standing six feet away — luckily all the leashes are about six feet long.”
LBACS had 87 dogs when the emergency foster program began. After “quite a number of dogs were adopted, and others were returned to their owners,” 43 have been placed in foster homes. The last 8 to 10 dogs are scheduled to be pulled from the shelter Thursday, Peters said.
Foster parents are also offered free dog walks through Live Love Pet Care, a pet care business connected to the rescue organization. Fostering is important because dogs get adopted quicker when they’re in foster homes — their training is maintained, the dogs are able to socialize, and they’re not under the stress of a shelter environment, Peters said.
“This is, in my opinion, how the shelter should run ongoing,” she said. “We’re going to draft a proposal to City of Long Beach for funding because it’ll save taxpayers money and is also in the best interest of the dogs. Fostering is the future of animal welfare.”
The project is made possible thanks to a $5,000 donation from Friends of Long Beach Animals and the Disney VoluntEARS Community Fund, which has agreed to reallocate a $5,000 grant originally intended for another program to support this emergency effort, a Live Love Animal Rescue news release said.
“These funds are absolutely crucial to get as many dogs out of the shelter and into foster care as quickly as possible, and we are very grateful for the support of our partners,” Peters said.
Once all the dogs are in their new foster homes, Live Love Animal Rescue will hold virtual meet-and-greets and adoption events to help them find their forever homes. For more information on fostering or adoptable dogs, visit the Live Love Animal Rescue website.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC's recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.