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Humane society says adoptions, fostering at all-time high 

Danville-Boyle County Humane Society’s kennels are empty after a surge in local adoptions lately. DBCHS Board President Fizzy Ramsey said although they are bracing for cat season, where many kittens are brought in, they feel good about their standing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo submitted)

The Danville-Boyle County Humane Society says it was very fortunate to meet the COVID-19 health crisis with stable operations, “thanks to our community.” Board president Fizzy Ramsey said sure — DBCHS had to make some changes, like everyone has, in the hours it operates as well as tightening its belt.

But the love the community has shown for the homeless animal population during the pandemic has been amazing, she said.

“And we couldn’t have done all that we’ve done without the amazing support. DBCHS and the county’s animal control will continue to do all they can to meet the need of the homeless pet population, as well as serve as a resource to the community,” Ramsey said

The spay/neuter program for community cats had to be put on hold, she said, but will soon reopen “and we can get back to addressing those most likely to contribute to cat overpopulation,” she said.

But, Ramsey said, “The scary thing approaching is kitten season, when we will be inundated with tiny, but mighty unadoptable pocket tigers — orphaned kittens under 8 weeks old.” DBCHS will be in need of foster volunteers to help them care for this vulnerable population, a population which typically doesn’t thrive in a kennel environment.

“We’ll be hosting a kitten shower before long providing an Amazon wish list. We’ve been fortunate to get the 19 puppies adopted that came in this past month,” Ramsey said.

“DBCHS staff, volunteers and board members are very grateful for the commitment our community has made to adoption and fostering, and we will remain available to serve as a resource in making these transitions successful.”

 

A shining light during COVID

One thing the coronavirus pandemic has brought out is the important role pets play in their humans’ lives, Ramsey said.

“They help us get through difficult times,” she said, both emotionally and physically. Because of the need for companionship and comfort, Ramsey said the adoption center is now empty — a first occurrence since DBCHS was renovated years ago.

“There’s been more time for parents and their children to potty train a puppy, or take the time to restore trust with a pet that was once abused or neglected.”

Ramsey said that aside from the increase in adoptions, those who step up to foster have also increased in numbers. People who normally travel are now grounded, Ramsey said, and seem to enjoy the routine a foster pet requires.

And, more people are getting out to individually exercise, including daily dog walks that she said seems to be giving people a break from the isolation.

Ramsey said aside from just the need for fresh air and exercise, the act of petting a cat or dog “is known to release oxytocin, the bonding hormone or ‘cuddle chemical,’” that helps us feel less stressed.

“So there is no doubt pets help to ease our worries, help keep us occupied,” she said. But, she reminded, pet owners have a responsibility to their animals’ mental and physical wellbeing too.

For instance, not all cats want to be in the hustle and bustle of family life, and may prefer to have a quiet space away from activities. “And puppies and rescues will need some level of separation prior to their owners returning to their regular work schedules,” Ramsey said.

And, she said, those adopting must remember to envision their life outside of the quarantine, ensuring they are able to commit the required time to being a responsible pet owner.