“Very quickly, animals were placed in foster homes”
Keeping both animals and staff safe was a priority at the Upper Credit Humane Society shelter.
The UCHS shelter is normally a very open one, welcoming public visits between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days a week. Some visitors come looking to adopt a cat, a dog or perhaps a small animal. Others come to visit the cats in our free-roaming cat rooms – just because they enjoy it or because they are helping to socialize some cats who are still shy with people.
Covid-19 changed everything! The shelter became a much more closed environment. We could no longer welcome groups of people. We had to close our doors to drop-in visitors and our wonderful volunteers. Potential adopters come by appointment, one person at a time, and each visitor is asked to put on a mask, gloves and a gown.
Within the shelter, all precautionary hygiene and personal protective measures are taken, with staff working reduced hours to take care of the animals. Even with these measures in place, we knew we ran the risk that one of our staff would test positive for Covid-19 – and if that happened, we would all be under quarantine. How would the animals be cared for then?
We created an emergency plan that called for members of the board of directors to step in, but without shelter experience they would not be able to manage our large shelter population. We put out calls on social media and our website, asking for people willing to foster our animals during these uncertain times. The community responded. Big time! Very quickly, animals were placed in foster homes, and we were able to reduce the shelter population to something much more manageable. So far our staff have remained healthy and are taking advantage of fewer animals in-house to do some reorganizing, painting and small repairs.
We also continue to find permanent homes for our animals. Since March 15 we have found homes for 31 cats, 12 dogs and eight small animals.
Uncertain times like these call for people to rise to meet them, and they have! We are so grateful to our foster people, to all the donors who responded financially and with food and other shelter supplies, and to those who opened their hearts to offer permanent homes to our animals.
We look forward to the time when we will once again be able to welcome more visitors to the shelter. We are fully aware that health precautions will change the way we all operate in public environments in the future, but somehow, we will all make it work.
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