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Animal Shelters During Covid-19

Many animal shelters are struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although they are allowed to operate, some decide to forego this option to reduce the risk of transmission. Dogs and cats are not the only pets you can bring into your home, though! Lagomorpha, rodents, and reptiles are usually out of the question. So if you've ever thought about becoming a small-pet owner, consider one of these ‘less-liked’ animals. They will not only be grateful for you, but you’ll be grateful for them. This article will provide you with enough resources if you are considering fostering/adopting. 

Image courtesy of Toronto.com

What you can do to help

If you are not ready to adopt, you can always foster. Fostering is essentially providing a temporary shelter for animals who are still looking to be adopted. This is a great way to see if having a permanent pet is the right for you and your family! Unfortunately, not all families/people are able to adopt a pet; whether it be due to allergies, financial difficulty, or time issues, there are ways you can still support your local shelter. Donations go a long way, especially during challenging times. Remember, to always check the authenticity of the website before donating. 

Here are some websites/foundations to get you started:

SPCA websites (throughout Canada)

Image courtesy of BC SPCA

Why should you adopt a pet?

  1. You could save a life--some pets who don't get adopted end up spending their entire lives in the shelter, or in some worse cases, are euthanized because they were not adopted soon enough.

  2. Adoption is significantly more affordable than buying a pet from a breeder. If you are on a budget, the shelter is the way to go: depending on the breed of the animal and how long the they have lived in the shelter, prices range from $50 to around $200, whereas breeders can charge upwards of $500.

  3. You would be doing your part to help eradicate animal mills and pet shops that sell animals. Pet stores that sell "livestock" have animal suppliers that are far from ethical. Most often referred to as "puppy mills", these completely inhumane farms illegally house animals in devastating inadequate conditions and sell them to pet shops for cheap. For every animal that is bought from a pet store, another is bred into a mill and spends its days malnourished, abused, crammed into a far-too-small crate with many other animals. In Ottawa, Ontario, it is against municipal law to sell dogs in pet stores. Despite this, one pet store in particular, Pet World in Bayshore mall still sells dogs. If you are an Ottawaian, support one of over 50 of Ottawa's SPCA-supported locations instead.

  4. Research shows that having a pet can relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and improve one's mental and physical health. This is why many people have emotional support animals, or ESA's, including myself. My dog Karli, a 5 year-old Cavalier King Charles mix, moved to university with me. Since I got her in 2015, she has helped me significantly with dealing with my social anxiety. Dogs can be very comforting in stressful situations, such as taking an (online) exam, walking around a mall, therapy appointments, and panic attacks.

Adopting a furry friend will not only changing their life, but it can make yours better.

Image courtesy of CBC

How are shelters dealing with the pandemic?

Here in Atlantic Canada, pet adoptions have gone up exponentially since March, which makes sense: folks have been self-quarantining and many people are experiencing loneliness, urging them to look into adopting a pet. Despite this, shelters have been struggling with funding due to the cancellation of most annual events that have previously brought in a significant chunk of the fiscal year's revenue. According to Jennifer Harkness, development and communications manager for P.E.I. Humane Society said that the PEIHS was forced to delay/cancel their golf tournament that had raised over $25,000 for the shelter last year.

The SPCA of Nova Scotia reported that as of March 16th, they had no choice but to close their four thrift stores, which contribute 20% of the SPCA's yearly income. Along with that, all volunteers with the SPCA had to press pause on their positions on March 16th as well due to risk of a spread. Volunteers are an integral part of the NSSPCA, so this decision was difficult, but necessary. Fortunately, as of June 5th, volunteers were able to slowly reenter the shelters.

Image courtesy of CBC

Good news!

Six days ago in Kamloops, Nova Scotia, the NS Government donated $2,000 to the Kamloops SPCA in honour of RCAF Snowbird Capt. Jenn Casey who died in an aircraft accident this past May. In the midst of a pandemic, this donation was very helpful for the shelter.

In the beginning of quarantine, shelters across Nova Scotia were offering free pet food to financially struggling pet owners. Many folks lost their jobs due to Covid, and expenses such as dog food can be very expensive, so the NSSPCA wanted to do what they could for local furry (or scaly) friends and their owners.


Anstey, D. (2020, August 06). Pet adoptions soar during pandemic, but Atlantic Canada's

animal shelters need support: The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved from



Berry, C. (2020, October 24). $2,000 donated to SPCA in Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey's

name. Retrieved from https://infotel.ca/newsitem/2000-donated-to-spca-in-snowbirds-


Elena Barnard Animal Friends Pet Insurance Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on

Google Plus Share on Pintrest Comment on this article, & 3rd Feb 2015 Elena Barnard

Animal Friends Pet Insurance. (2018, November 27). 10 Benefits of Adopting a Pet. Retrieved

from https://www.animalfriends.co.uk/blog/10-benefits-of-adopting-a-pet/

Nova Scotia SPCA COVID Updates. (2020, July 29). Retrieved from


Top reasons to adopt a pet. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Featured image courtesy of Wix

Article Author: Maria Giroux

Article Editors: Michelle Xiao, Valerie Shirobokov