Animal foster numbers soar with more people at home

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Many people say they want a pet, but they simply aren’t home enough to take care of one. With many people now ordered to stay at home, some are taking the opportunity to test out having a furry friend.

Albuquerque Animal Welfare said in the past three weeks, they have fostered the same number of animals they usually would in four months. Will Tapia has a new companion, Red, a one-year-old pitbull mix. Tapia has been fostering Red from Albuquerque Animal Welfare since Friday.

“I think like a lot of people, I was kind of going a little crazy during this quarantine,” Tapia said. “I live in an apartment in downtown Albuquerque. I live by myself, so I either talk to people off of my balcony or I get an animal.”

Red is one of about 500 animals that are being fostered right now, more than double the usual amount. “It really allowed us to tap into all the folks that are home looking for something to do with their time,” Adam Ricci with Albuquerque Animal Welfare said.

Ricci said with more animals in homes, there are just around 100 left in the shelter, down from the typical amount of more than 500. It has also allowed them to move staff to support the foster program.

“There is more space and less stress,” Ricci said. “We also changed to schedule adoptions so we don’t just have a whole bunch of people walking through all day. What we are starting to see is there is less stress in our dogs because there is not activity going on all day for them to react to.”

Ricci said the goal is for fosters to eventually adopt their pets. However, if they choose not to, the fosters still provide valuable information about the animal that will help the department match them in the future.

“I know that he [Red] loves to run,” Tapia said. “He would do great with a family who is really active.”

While Tapia does not plan to adopt Red, he said he has enjoyed his companionship during this time. “Just having another living being during this quarantine has helped me maintain a little bit of sanity,” Tapia said.

Tapia said while the shelter provided him with a kennel, food, and toys for Red, fostering a dog is still a big responsibility. If you are interested in fostering an animal, contact the city’s Animal Welfare Department.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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