Oklahoma City Animal Welfare is one of the numerous shelters around the country encouraging people to adopt or foster animals as governments have encouraged long periods of staying inside and social distancing.

In a Facebook post, the shelter encouraged people to adopt pets to lower stress levels and increase happiness:

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One center in Austin is asking for people to sign up to foster pets as shelters are closing or reducing hours to quarantine their staff. “What we’re trying to do is prepare for the worst at this point,” Eric Rayvid, a spokesperson for Best Friends Animal Society, an animal welfare nonprofit, told HuffPost.

According to Rayvid, “If it’s a large-scale shelter and you have a skeletal staff, that’s just going to be that much more of a burden for those folks to have. The less animals that are there, the better work environment for [staff] and the better for the animals.”

As people socially distance, they are visiting shelters less and animals in need aren’t getting adopted at a regular rate. Said Memphis, Tennessee’s Memphis Animal Services director Alexis Pugh, “We are feeling a reduction in adoptions. We are feeling a reduction in owner reclaims. That’s causing our numbers to be completely out of balance. Our intake, we just can’t keep up with it.”

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“Having a pet around … is good for your head,” Rayvid said. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute and the Cohen Research Center found that 74% of pet owners had mental health improvements from owning a pet.

Interested in making your quarantine a little furrier? Contact your local animal shelter to see if they need help fostering or adopting pets during this uncertain time. You can search by zip code using this resource from Best Friends Animal Society.

Read more resources about adopting animals on One Green Planet, including 7 Reasons to Adopt Your Next Furry Best Friend, 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Adopt a Pet, and These Heartwarming Before and After Pictures of Adopted Rescue Animals Will Make Your Day! Read tips for pet adoptions and what to consider before adopting an animal. We recommend using these apps to find shelter dogs near you!

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

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Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

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