The Jefferson County Humane Society is nearly empty after an increase in adoptions cleared out their kennels in mid-to-late March, Jenny Haynes, JCHS manager, said.
Center Valley Animal Rescue in Quilcene has seen that same spike in adoptions, Dinah DiNova, volunteer coordinator, said.
It seems more people are looking to adopt animals, even some senior animals and those with special needs that haven’t been able to find homes for years, DiNova said.
One now-senior cat had been at CVAR for close to eight years before it was recently adopted, she said.
Both organizations have also seen an increase in adoption applications from outside Jefferson County as shelters nationwide are being cleared out. DiNova said CVAR has seen applications from places as far away as Portland, Oregon, and a large increase in applications from Seattle and Canada.
It might be that as people are stuck at home they are turning to animals to alleviate their feelings of isolation.
“People are realizing as they are staying home that they do have a place in their home and their hearts for a new animal,” Haynes said.
Not only are more being adopted but fewer animals are being surrendered or found as strays, she said.
“This is really the beautiful side of this crisis,” DiNova said. “Animal companionship is a saving grace for people as they are isolating.”
Both agencies said they initially were concerned the recent increase in adoptions was just a fad and that animals adopted might not be correctly cared for but both were confident in their own adoption processes in which they diligently vet applicants to make sure they are the right fit for each animal.
Those looking to adopt right now should consider all aspects of their life and be sure they will still have time for a new animal in their “post-COVID” lives, DiNova said.
“When you go back to work or when your kids go back to school, can you still provide the same amount of attention for a new animal that you can right now?” she said.
Right now, JCHS only has one dog left that would otherwise be adoptable, but because spay and neuter services are considered non-essential, Oscar will be there for the foreseeable future.
One concern is that if spay and neuter services remain closed for long, JCHS could become overrun with animals it can not legally adopt out.
“At that point I would probably be begging the veterinarians,” Haynes said.
But restarting spays and neuters might not be like flipping a switch, as many veterinarians might be struggling to acquire the right protective equipment to conduct surgeries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Haynes said they have struggled to find everyday supplies for the shelter such as bleach and gloves.
CVAR was lucky to have had a large backstock of necessary supplies, DiNova said, that have prevented them from needing immediate resupplies. CVAR even discussed whether at some point it might be necessary to donate some of their stock to local hospitals and medical agencies, but it seems the need has not been great enough.