How to become a successful ‘Quarantine Pet Parent’

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SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Since COVID-19 caused states to shutdown, many people found themselves bored and alone. Thus, animal shelters, like Spartanburg Humane Society and Greenville County Animal Care, saw an increase in foster and adoptions.

While states have now slowly begun to create a new normal, lifting some of those shutdown orders, that new pet is there to stay. Thus, Spartanburg Humane Society’s CEO Angel Cox said it’s best to do your research before getting a fur baby.

“Not just looking at sad eyes in a kennel and saying, ‘Oh my gosh! I feel bad for this dog. I’m going to adopt it.’ We want them to understand what they’re fitting into their family,” Cox said.

Shelter data from Greenville County Animal Care

Neither Spartanburg or Greenville have anticipated adopters returning their pets just because they’re going back to work or orders have been lifted.

“We’re kind of counting on the fact that this animal now is actually a member of your family,” Cox said. “Also, there’s a fee turning an animal into us, even if you adopted it from us. You’ve had it longer than 30 days, you still have to pay the fee to turn it in.”

Cox and Greenville County Animal Cares Communications Director, Paula Church, explained that pet adoptions are great, and aren’t without problems, thus, all shelters do offer help.

“We want to see everybody successful and we want to see everybody win. We have a dog trainer here,” Church said. “Shaun is always here to offer any kind of information and tips that, you know, if anybody’s having any particular issues.”

In addition to advice, both Spartanburg Humane Society and Greenville County Animal Cares are already microchipped, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, come with a leash, and a small bag of dog food.

Spartanburg even has connections to offer discounts to local businesses like Paisley Paw, Southport Kennel, as well as, Papa Johns Pizza.

But maybe pet adoption is too much of a commitment. The Linkous family has fostered nearly 20 dogs for the last two years, and believe fostering is the best great.

Scooter is the Linkous’s foster puppy, husband Andy, daughter Cara, son Grant and matriarch Jen Linkous agreed fostering has been a challenging but exciting three weeks.

“He’s a pretty happy little guy,” Jen Linkous said.

Scooter is a special needs dog, because his spine was injured by his previous owner’s child. So, his hind legs drag, but still have the ability to function.

Linkous explained that the challenging, and yet, rewarding task of rehabilitating Scooter has been worth it.

“To be honest with you, if it wasn’t during the all of this quarantine we couldn’t do this,” Linkous said. “It’s extremely rewarding to be a part of a foster dogs life or cat. But this has been even more rewarding this time to watch in three weeks, just the progress [Scooter has] made.”

Scooter has water therapy sessions, where he wears a life vest to help him float while he retrains his legs to walk an underwater treadmill.

Scooter at Water Therapy

Grant Linkous said being at the animal rehab facility is one of his proudest moments with Scooter.

“Last time we did one speed and he was doing really good. This time, we did really high speed and he was just really good. Especially his right one,” Grant said.
“Yeah, his right side is a little stronger looking,” Jen added.
“No. Left,” Grant said.
“The left?” Jen asked.
“Yeah! Left,” Grant reminded her.
“Ah, the left side,” Jen explained,” when we go to therapy with him. It’s exciting to see his hips moving and his legs trying to move.”

Cara Linkous

Scooter isn’t alone, happy stories of rescue pets in permanent and foster homes are up in both Spartanburg and Greenville counties.

“Probably between 150 and 200 actually going out the door. We are up 50 from this exact time frame last year. We have had 50 more adoptions,” Cox said.

“We can house up to 400 animals. But, we really seen, we’ve seen about a 45% decrease in intake since this has started over the same time period last year,” Church said.

Grant Linkous

Church noted that more of the animals that are still in the shelters are special needs cases. Therefore, this shutdown has allowed Greenville County to focus more on those cases and get them the treatment and attention they need.

Additionally, those animals in foster homes, help adopting families by letting the animal adjust to life outside of the shelter. The foster family has the ability to learn and share the genuine likes and dislikes with the adoptive family. This overall creates a more smooth transition into the animal’s forever home.

But if adoption or fostering isn’t going to work, Cox and Church said donations of any kind are welcome. For more information about adoption, pet fostering, or donations click on Spartanburg Humane Society or Greenville County Animal Care.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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