April 6, 2020
“We think the increase in adoption numbers is related to the fact that people are at home. People are thinking about ways to maybe ease their anxiety and stress and we know animals can contribute to that,” Tarbox said.
PHS manages shelters in Burlingame and San Mateo and also cares for injured or orphaned wildlife in San Mateo as well as in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties. The nonprofit’s work saves more than 5,500 lives each year, according to its website.
While adoptions are primarily of dogs and cats, the nonprofit is also home to guinea pigs, rabbits, birds and bearded dragons, one of which named Shakesbeard was adopted last week, Tarbox said.
PHS continues to facilitate adoptions and offer other essential services, but business is being conducted differently of late because of the COVID-19 situation. Adoptions are now by appointment rather than via walk-ins, though those looking to adopt can see the animals online ahead of time. Other interactions, including the surrendering of animals, are done outside of the building; visitors are asked to call when parked out front and an employee will come to them to assist.
“That seems to be working quite well,” Tarbox said.
The shelters have already been adhering to stringent hygienic protocol before the outbreak, and those efforts have only increased. “Extreme” social distancing is also practiced at all times, Tarbox added.
The wildlife care center is still fully operational, officers continue to respond to calls for injured or abandoned wildlife and while there are fewer volunteers on hand than usual because of COVID-19-related restrictions, all of the animals’ needs continue to be met, Tarbox said.