Social Distancing? Houston Shelter Implements Curbside Pickup Featuring Shelter Pups To-Go

Self-isolation is lonely and scary, but one animal shelter has a novel solution to keep you company while in quarantine.

The Harris County Animal Shelter in Houston, Texas, has announced a new foster program that fully complies with social distancing measures. As Americans are encouraged to stay indoors, shelter staff will deliver shelter pets to your car, allowing you – at least through the length of this COVID-19 quarantine –to foster needy animals via curb-side pickup. The shelter will also provide dog food as needed.

This creative approach also helps homeless animals, who are pouring into U.S. shelters at unprecedented rates — even while workers, volunteers and potential adopters are told to stay at home. This has left U.S. shelters desperate to find foster parents willing to temporarily house homeless animals, who now have even less of a chance of finding forever homes.

Social distancing requirements have inspired some shelters, like Harris County Pets, to embrace creative programs like curb-side pickup to entice foster parents. Others have offered to cover all costs for people willing to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic while fostering senior dogs.

Photo:
Flickr/Deb

Of course, the benefits of fostering dogs and cats also extend to your own mental health and well-being. Multiple studies confirm that pets help humans cope with stress and anxiety, which can be especially overwhelming during these difficult times.

“They provide us with comfort,” trauma therapist Shari Botwin told CNN. “People talk about how their blood pressure will go down when they’re with their pets. Pets are calm.”

Please email foster@phs.hctx.net with “Spring Break Foster” in subject line if you live in Harris, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties and are interested in fostering a pet during the COVID-19 quarantine. Rescuers also need to know if you you’d prefer a dog over or under 30 pounds.

When animals are ready for curbside pick-up, fosters should download the QLess app, sign up, and check in to join the queue. The shelter is located at 612 Camino Road in Houston, Texas.

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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