Local animal rescues encourage homebound Californians to foster or adopt

Stuck at home, millions of Californians suddenly have some extra time on their hands and many are stepping up to foster and adopt shelter animals.

It turns out man's best friend during a quarantine may just be a dog or cat.

"This is Phillip," Rebecca Thuresson tells Eyewitness News of the 8-month-old mutt she and her family are fostering in Sherman Oaks.

"It's been such a lovely experience for us because while we're not ready to adopt, we can at least shower these puppies with love and give them a safe home in a safe environment until they're adopted and they find their forever families," says Rebecca.

Phillip is the third rescue dog Rebecca's family has fostered since the coronavirus outbreak. All three were rescued from local animal shelters by the non-profit Animal Hope and Wellness in Sherman Oaks.

"We rescue abused and neglected animals and get them adopted," says Animal Hope and Wellness director Ellie Roberto. "The shelters are closed to the public, but they're letting rescues pull the animals, so we're pulling in an effort to help keep their populations lower."

"The end goal is adoption," says Ellie. "So, we'd really love for them to find their forever home."

Animal Hope and Wellness has rescued animals from all over the world including China, Iraq and Mexico, but most of the animals at their facility right now are from local shelters.

"Just being in a home environment, it's so helpful and it helps them heal," says adoption coordinator Meggan Oksness. "I feel like the community has really come together. We've been completely inundated with foster applications, which is so amazing."

If you think it's hard being cooped at home, imagine living your life inside an animal shelter.

"We're all quarantined, we're all home and everyone has the same fears," says Ellie. "It's a really wonderful thing that you can do if you can open your home to an animal during this time because they're in the same position and they're in shelters all the time."

Jade Tailor of Santa Monica is also fostering a rescue dog for Animal Hope and Wellness, although Jade may turn into what's known as a "foster fail."

"I think it's a definitely a failed foster because I have to keep him," says Jade. "He's just the sweetest and best dog ever."

Like so many Californians, Jade is working from home during the coronavirus crisis and finally has the time to foster and most likely adopt.

"He sits on my lap, he reminds me that I need to go out and take him for a walk and get some sunshine...stay six feet away from people," says Jade. "It's just been a great gift for me."

Crumbs & Whiskers is another organization that put out the call for foster families amid the coronavirus outbreak. In normal times, the rescue operates as a kitten and cat cafe where anyone can stop by for some feline cuddle time.

"What we do is rescue cats and kittens from shelters who are going to be euthanized for no other reason than they're out of space," Crumbs & Whiskers founder Kanchan Singh tells Eyewitness News. "People come in, they have coffee, they cuddle with cats, they just get this very therapeutic healing, fun experience."

The kitten cafe is closed for now and Crumbs & Whiskers is looking for foster families to at least temporarily house all of their kittens and cats.

"I think this is the perfect time to foster, the perfect time to adopt," says Kanchan. "A beautiful connection that will help you get through this period that otherwise can cause anxiety and stress. And those are all the things that we know pets help reduce.. and then it's also amazing for the animals because you're actually saving a life."

City and county animal shelters are also looking for both adoptive and foster families.

SPCALA tells Eyewitness News their foster families have stepped up to the plate already, but they're always looking for permanent homes. SPCALA is currently doing adoptions by appointment.
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