Why Lockdown Is the Best Time to Adopt or Foster a Dog or Cat
The UK is in lockdown. Understandably, a lot of people are fed up with having to stay indoors 24/7 – but many homeless dogs and cats in shelters face confinement for much longer than a few weeks or months.
That’s where you come in! What better time than lockdown to open your home and heart to a canine or feline companion? Providing a homeless dog or cat with a loving, stable home is a wonderful gift. Although shelters take great care of animals, any dog or cat would rather curl up on a sofa with a family than be alone in a kennel or cattery. And welcoming an animal into your home isn’t just an act of kindness – you’ll benefit in all kinds of ways as well.
Science has shown that having a dog around is great for your mental health. Dogs bring their guardians joy by showing them unconditional love, and taking your companion out for walks results in health benefits as well as social interaction with other dog walkers (from 2 metres away, of course). Having a dog could also help you cope with the stress of social distancing. After spending just 10 minutes playing together, you and your pup will both have lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. And simply looking into your dog’s eyes releases a flood of oxytocin that immediately makes you feel better. Research has shown that doing so triggers similar neural pathways to those involved in bonding between mothers and their babies – so when you hear someone refer to their animal companion as their “baby”, this may actually be true on a neurological level!
Living with cats brings all sorts of benefits, too. Whether they enjoy sitting on your lap or prefer to do their own thing, research suggests that having a cat around can make you significantly less stressed and reduce your risk of suffering from heart disease by 30%. Is there anything better than listening to your cat purr? The vibrations from purrs can even help heal injured bones and muscles. Just watching cat videos online can reduce negative feelings and boost your energy, so imagine how de-stressed and happy you could feel with a feline friend in your home every day.
Adopting or Fostering?
Of course, adding an animal companion to the family is an important decision that requires making a lifetime commitment to caring for and spending time with an animal. A dog or a cat could be a part of the family for 15 years or more, so it’s important not to rush the decision and to find an animal who is a good match for your activity level, experience, abilities, and personality. If you are prepared to make that lifelong commitment to a four-legged friend and have plenty of time, money, patience, and love to give, contact your local rescue organisation today.
If you’re not quite ready to adopt, consider fostering – you’ll get to have a dog or a cat by your side for company as you spend more time indoors during lockdown. And what better way to get out for exercise than by taking a precious pup for a walk? Who knows – you might become so attached to your new friend that you decide to make them a permanent member of your family.
Never Buy Animals From Breeders
When you buy a puppy or a kitten from a breeder or pet shop, you’re buying into cruelty. Many breeders force female dogs and cats to churn out litter after litter of babies for profit, with little regard for the animals’ welfare.
Dogs and cats at puppy and kitten mills aren’t well-loved family companions – treated like breeding machines, they suffer in squalid conditions, often with untreated health issues, until they’re no longer able to produce more young, at which point they’re abandoned, sold, or killed. Puppies and kittens from breeders commonly have myriad health issues and genetic defects, leading to excessive vet bills for their families.
Every time someone buys a puppy or a kitten, an animal in a shelter loses their chance at finding a home, fuelling the homeless-animal crisis. Not only do rescued dogs and cats make terrific companions, mixed-breed animals are also likely to be healthier and to live longer than their “pedigree” counterparts. So remember: always adopt – never shop!
Ready to Adopt or Foster?
Here are some tips on taking care of dogs and cats during lockdown:
More Ways to Help Dogs
Not all homeless dogs are lucky enough to find a permanent, loving home. Each year in Romania, tens of thousands of stray dogs, most of whom were struggling to survive on city streets, are systematically captured and slaughtered. Please speak out against this bloodshed, which is legal under Romanian law.