(ANIMAL RESCUE/PETS) In a grand effort to curb the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are being urged to shelter in place. But self-isolation doesn’t have to be lonely. Now is the perfect time to foster or adopt a pet.

Not only do shelters and pet adoption facilities desperately need people to foster pets amid the temporary lockdown, but people can also help rescue themselves during these crazy times.

Multiple vetted organizations have all confirmed pets are not at risk of spreading COVID-19 and studies have proven time and time again that bringing an animal into your home makes you happier and healthier.

Read on to learn more about how fostering a pet can serve as a source of comfort during crisis. — Global Animal

Animal Shelter Encourages Fostering A Pet During Coronavirus Pandemic. Photo Credit: Getty

People, Kelli Bender

Americans are being told to stay at home and avoid gatherings of people in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Social distancing is an important step to curbing the coronavirus pandemic, but you don’t have to do it totally alone.

“If you don’t have a pet and are thinking about getting one, now is the perfect time to ‘try it on’ by fostering from your local shelter. Shelters and pet adoption facilities nationwide need people to foster pets on a temporary basis,” Julie Castle the CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, told PEOPLE about how they can help rescue pets and themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the American Veterinary Medical Association have all stated that pets are not at risk of spreading COVID-19, and science has shown time and time again that adding an animal to your life makes your happier and healthier.

The choice to foster an animal during this time will also greatly help your local shelter, which is likely suffering from a lag in adoptions, an increase in intakes and limited resources

“Animal shelters across the country are having to deal with an increase of dogs and cats in need of homes because fewer people are visiting shelters right now, and in some cases, shelters are having to temporarily close to the public,” Castle added. “Some animal shelters are already seeing an increase in intake, and many are bracing themselves for the possibility of fewer adoptions and fewer foster homes, and are concerned about limited space.”

For those who already have pets and can’t currently take in another, the CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, the largest no-kill animal welfare organization in the country, urges pet owners to show their furry friend love now more than ever.

“Best Friends hopes to assure people with pets that their relationships with their dogs and cats should remain unchanged and there is no reason to consider surrendering pets to shelters,” she said.

“It’s not only safe to keep pets in the home, but also beneficial, as they can serve as a source of comfort during a crisis,” Castle added on the perks of having a pet. “The companionship of pets has been shown to reduce stress and lower anxiety, helping people to feel calmer and more secure when the news from the outside world is distressing.”

Castle also suggests stocking up on a month-long supply of food and medication for your pet, keeping their medical records updated and on hand, washing your hands before and after handling your pet, and regularly disinfecting your pet’s products (bowls, leashes, beds, etc.) as ways to keep you and your pet safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

More People: https://people.com/pets/pet-fostering-coronavirus-pandemic/