COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. The novel virus has closed country borders, halted businesses in every industry, and confined people to their homes.

Animals are seeing issues as a result of the pandemic, too. Every operation nationwide has had to shut their doors, and this includes animal sanctuaries, shelters, and rescue groups.

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One silver lining in the chaos is that many people now have more time to help causes that they care about. Read on for five ways to help animals during this time.

1. Foster an Animal

Photo by Sasha Sashina on Unsplash

Animal shelters across the US are having to close their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. This puts the millions of dogs and cats in US shelters with nowhere to go.

Now, more than ever before, is the perfect time to give fostering a try! Many people are working from home, which means they can have a new furry coworker to keep them entertained between business calls.

If you’re interested in fostering, contact an animal shelter or rescue group in your area to find out how you can help.

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2. Adopt a Pet

Photo by Jack Brind on Unsplash

There’s only one thing better than fostering, and that’s adopting!

When dogs and cats get adopted into a permanent home, it takes a huge strain off of the shelters who have had to close their doors and find a place for the animals. Right now, many shelters are offering discounts or waiving adoption fees to encourage adoptions during this essential time.

The benefits work both ways, too. Studies have shown that dogs can actually help alleviate stress and anxiety for people during hard times. Dogs are a source of companionship, encourage people to go outside for a walk, and give a sense of responsibility to care for something else.

If you’re considering adopting, there has never been a better time. Most adoption centers are open by appointment only now, so it’s best to contact your local shelter to set up an appointment.

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3. Support Animal Sanctuaries

Photo by Fabrizio Frigeni on Unsplash

Animal sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers around the world are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many of these facilities depend primarily on volunteer support, especially in more rural places, like Merazonia in the Amazon rainforest. For organizations that depend on teams of international volunteers, travel bans are detrimental to operations. Most countries have closed their borders and told foreigners to return to their home countries, leaving rescue centers without help.

The other issue that animal sanctuaries and nonprofit organizations face is lack of funding. Right now, people across all industries are losing their jobs, which means that they are less likely to donate money to charitable causes.

You can support animal sanctuaries by donating to the cause or helping spread awareness around their mission on social media and other platforms. It’s also possible to use your skillset (and free time) to support an organization by helping with social media, graphic design, copywriting, and other tasks. Reach out to individual sanctuaries to find out what they need and how you can best support them.

4. Donate Supplies

Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash

If you aren’t able to donate money, supplies are always helpful. Pet food, cleaning materials, blankets, and other items are usually welcome contributions for animal welfare organizations.

If you’re looking for activities to do at home, there are several projects to keep you busy while also benefitting local animal rescues. Making dog toys, catnip pillows, and homemade dog treats are a few ideas you can get the whole family involved in.

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Since some pet-owners may be struggling financially, the added costs of owning a pet can cause problems. Many communities have a pet-food pantry you can donate to, which provides help for pet owners who are experiencing financial difficulty. Meals on Wheels and other similar services will also deliver pet food to people who are struggling as a result of lost wages.

Another easy way to support an organization is to add them as your designated charity on AmazonSmile. If you’re ordering groceries and household items online to avoid going to the store, you can support a cause at the same time – at no extra cost to you!

5. Voice Your Support with Online Petitions

For people finding themselves at home with time to spare, there are quick and easy ways you can help animals from your phone or computer.

There are hundreds of online petitions for various causes, so you can lend your voice and help make a change in just a few minutes. Signing a petition shows how many people stand behind a cause, ultimately helping influence the final decision. One Green Planet publishes a weekly list of petitions that you can easily support.

Take the Pledge to Stop Wildlife Crime

Current events show why the wildlife trade needs to end, now more than ever before. Experts believe that the coronavirus pandemic originated at the Wuhan market in China, which sells wild animals like snakes, foxes, porcupine and, deer.

Wildlife crime is the most immediate threat to endangered species like elephants, tigers and, rhinos. WWF is urging governments, especially those of demand countries like China, Vietnam and, Thailand, to strengthen law enforcement and invest in long-term efforts. Sign the pledge to stop wildlife crime and commit to preserving wildlife for future generations. And sign this petition calling for an end to wildlife markets.

Urge Governor DeSantis to Sign the Kristen Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act

Florida is close to becoming the 13th U.S. state to take a stand against the global shark fin trade. The Kristen Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act looks to ban the sale, import and export of shark fins in Florida, the biggest hub of shark fin trading in the U.S. today. The bill passed all committees and was unanimously voted through by the Senate and the House. Now, the bill sits with Governor DeSantis who can sign it, veto it, or let it pass into law without a signature. Send an email to the Governor’s office urging him to sign the bill. Every voice matters!

Tell Congress to Support the PAW and FIN Conservation Act

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has successfully protected animals and prevented the extinction of different species for almost 50 years. However, the Trump administration has severely weakened this landmark law. The PAW and FIN Act — “Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish in Need of Conservation Act of 2019” — looks to reverse these regulations and restore the ESA, continuing to protect vulnerable animals like Southern sea otters, Florida manatees, and grizzly bears. Sign this petition to tell Congress to protect threatened wildlife by supporting the bill.

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