Why you should foster or adopt a shelter pet right now, according to Dr Chris Brown.

As the world enters unprecedented territory due to the coronavirus pandemic, every corner of every industry has been impacted.

That includes animal shelters, who house thousands of homeless cats and dogs around Australia.

With volunteer numbers down due to workers being told to self-isolate and social distance, it has become increasingly difficult for the homeless animals to be taken care of as per usual.

Hence, the RSPCA has put out a plea for those who are capable to adopt or foster a pet.

Mamamia spoke to Bondi vet Dr Chris Brown about why adopting a pet now could be great timing, but also emphasises that we shouldn’t be “puppy panic buying”.


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Here’s a thought. Maybe social distancing doesn’t have to be so lonely. With animal shelters already at capacity, Coronavirus could create a potentially catastrophic drop in pet adoption rates. But if we’re heading into a potential period of self-isolation, why wouldn’t you take some company with you? With the WHO (World Health Organisation) now agreeing that pets pose no risk and can’t be infected with Covid-19, social distancing with a friend might make perfect sense. Just think. What other time in our entire adult lives are we unlikely to be spending long hours in the office? So if you’ve been thinking about adopting (and can afford their food and health care) this could be the perfect time to take a furry family member from their social isolation and ease yours. All while seizing a perfect opportunity to understand and enrich each other’s lives… . If there is any positive to come from these crazy times, maybe an abundance of caring homes and loving humans with time on their side is one…

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“It is, in many respects, the perfect time to show a bit of love to another fellow earth resident that is currently in isolation and is looking for some company – and that is a rescue dog or cat.”

Of course, you still need to be realistic about whether you can feasibly look after an animal right now.

“You have to weigh up your current life circumstances. This is only really relevant for people that have been thinking about it and wondering whether they should adopt,” the television presenter and vet said.

Listen to our full conversation with Dr Chris Brown about adopting a pet amidst the coronavirus crisis here. Post continues after audio.

“You only do this if you have the finances to back it up. But for me, the big bonus of this time – if we can try to find one positive – it’s the fact that all of a sudden we have a lot of time on our hands, we have a lot of ‘home time’ on our hands.”


And, if you can’t adopt, fostering – that is, providing a temporary home for an animal – is also an option that will help animal shelters during this time.

“We’ve had a couple of animal shelters already have to close their doors in the past few days,” Dr Chris Brown told Mamamia‘s The Quicky podcast. “So to be able to take some of those animals away from a shelter that is going into lockdown, and give them some attention, give them some love, then maybe it is a perfect scenario for both sides, and maybe we should really consider fostering.”

And, if you are wanting to bring a fury friend home with you, Dr Chris Brown says we can be assured that pets won’t be infected with COVID-19.

“There’s actually been a lot of research on this and there are no documented cases, there is no evidence,” Dr Chris Brown said. “The World Health Organisation has made the statement that pets can not infect people, and people can not infect pets with COVID-19. That’s been proven.”

Mamamia’s real time tracker of coronavirus cases. 

If you want to adopt or foster a pet, Dr Chris Brown says to do a bit of research first.

“Check out a few animal shelters [online] and try not to fall in love straight away with the pictures you see of those little, lonely hearts,” the famous vet explains.

“Go around to the animal shelters and have a chat with them because people who work at animal shelters are good people and they know what these dogs are like and they want them to go to the right home. They will tell you exactly who they are suited to, and whether you are the perfect match for them.”

Mamamia also spoke to Carolyn Jones from the South Australia branch of the RSPCA. Jones says the best way to go about adopting or fostering a pet right now is to visit the RSPCA website, where you can find all the information about how you can help the RSPCA during this difficult time.

Jones adds that you can also donate, to ensure the not-for-profit organisation can continue to take care of animals during this time of crisis.

Read more about COVID-19:

The Australian Government Department of Health advises that the only people who will be tested for COVID-19 are those with symptoms who have either returned from overseas in the past 14 days or been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

Feature Image: Getty.

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