June 11, 2020 / 3:36 AM / 2 months ago

New Yorkers adopt pets to deal with coronavirus stress

(Reuters) - When the coronavirus pandemic shut down New York City nearly three months ago, Jocelyn Tsai rushed to fill out an online application to foster a dog from the Animal Care Centers of NYC.

But by the end of March, the shelter had only a few dogs left. New Yorkers had already flooded the facility looking for pets to adopt.

One of the dogs still available at the shelter’s Harlem location was a red-haired, mixed-breed male dog named Archer.

“I ended up just falling in love with him,” Tsai said during a walk with Archer in Central Park. “And I adopted him two weeks after.”

Archer became Tsai’s constant companion as she sought to stave off the loneliness and isolation from social distancing restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

After the Animal Care Centers of NYC launched a social media campaign near the start of the pandemic to encourage New Yorkers to foster and adopt pets, Julia Lubbock, the shelter’s foster supervisor, said the response was “unbelievable.”

    “We got 3,000 within the first day and that rose to 5,000, 6,000 very, very quickly,” Lubbock said. “We have never been in the position to have more foster parents than we do animals.”

Lubbock said the response gave everybody in the shelter a lot of hope and joy at a time when people were nervous to go outside.

“It feels amazing. It feels like we are part of something really, really special right now,” she said.

Since March 13, the Animal Care Centers of NYC said it has placed around 800 animals in foster care, with more than 600 of them adopted.

Reporting by Aleksandra Michalska; Writing by Diane Craft; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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