TOLEDO, Ohio — After a month of living under Ohio's stay-at-home order, we have new routines, new habits, a new "normal" if you will, but it can still feel lonely. That's why some people are looking for a companion, even if it's only temporary.
Although applying to foster a pet is different now, the Toledo Humane Society and Lucas County Canine Care and Control are reporting an uptick in people interested in caring for pets during these tough times.
"The public has stepped up for us a lot. Our appointments are full every single time we do it. And most everyone takes a dog home. We can match up with people for a good fit," LC4 Community Outreach Coordinator Cassie Bloomfield said.
LC4 has been posting about appointments once a week on Facebook. Bloomfield said they like to give people a couple of days before setting up an appointment so they can prepare, clean and sanitize their homes before welcoming an animal.
The shelter also provides a link to a form on its Facebook page. Foster candidates fill it out, so they can match people with a pet that fits into their lifestyles.
"I'm going to ask you if you have any other pets, so I can kind of see who we can match you up with and then you come to your appointment time. I get a little bit of information, bring out some dogs to meet you and then you guys go," Bloomfield said.
Kara Klomperens and Justin Fisher, a medical student and a hockey coach, recently contacted the Humane Society and are now fostering a black mutt named Spark, who is estimated to be about one year old.
"We plan on doing it for now. We actually both lead pretty busy lives, so it kind of worked out. This is probably the only time we'd be able to foster a dog with as much energy as him. So, now we kind of have the time to take care of him, but once everything starts again, we probably won't have as much time," Klomperens said.
Klomperens and Fisher said they filled out the shelter's foster care application and set up a curbside appointment the next day.
"It was very easy. We drove over there and they had curbside going, so they brought him out to see us and we walked him around. And then we took him home," Klomparens said.
Klomparens and Fisher said the Humane Society provided them with dog food, a crate, toys, heartworm prevention medicine and antibiotics for Stark's cough.
Bloomfield said LC4 also gives foster parents everything they need. "We provide them with food, toys, treats, a blanket, everything they would need, all they have to do is love," she said.
The main concern possible foster parents have now is the uncertainty of the moment we are living, Bloomfield said, such as what happens if they get sick and can't take care of the pet they are fostering.
"If a dog needs to come back to the shelter before we're back open, that's fine. We're still here. We still have room for them. We would never just kind of leave them out,"she said.
If you would like to help LC4, the shelter accepts monetary donations. If you want to donate an item, you can check their Amazon wishlist or drop it off in a bin outside the front door of the facility.
Supporters of the Toledo Humane Society can visit the shelter's website to make a monetary donation, and people can still donate items by leaving them on the bench outside the shelter's main entrance between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
"We're still here. We're still taking care of stray dogs on the streets. It's just a little bit more unconventional," Bloomfield said. "People who are unable to care for their pet any longer, we're still taking owner surrenders. We are trying to provide as much support to people so they can keep their animals during this time, especially if it's a financial thing and they just need a little bit of help."
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