MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With so many people working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, animal shelters and rescue groups across the country have been flooded with foster and adoption requests at unprecedented levels but more are needed including South Florida shelters.

For more than a year, the Holzers in Maryland had been looking to adopt a dog. And then came the news that everyone in the family would suddenly be staying home.

“We’d been thinking about it, but my husband and I both work-full time and we just didn’t know how we’d manage integrating a puppy into our family and house training the dog, and I just thought, wow, we gotta do it now,” says Jessica Holzer.

Through Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Washington, DC, they brought home two-month-old Georgie, who quickly became a member of the family.

“What a silver lining for my children who are out of school, you know, there’s this scary virus going around, they can’t have playdates. She’s like a little miracle for us,” Holzer says.

Rescue groups and animal shelters say they’re getting offers to help out and the need could grow if owners suddenly become unable to care for their pets or shelter staff is reduced.

If people aren’t in a place to make it a more permanent decision, there are still other ways to help, like fostering – bringing home a pet until they’re ready for adoption.

The Miami-Dade Animal Shelter is still open for pet adoptions and fostering even though the shelter is currently operating mission-essential services only.

The adoptions are taking place at the Pet Adoption and Protection Center in Doral, following guidelines for social distancing. There is also an adoption center at the Petco in South Miami.

All adoption fees are both locations are being waived.

Emergency fosters are needed but the most urgent housing needs are for medium and large dogs and pets with special needs. ASD will provide veterinary care, supplies, and food for fostered pets. Interested fosters can email: ASDFOSTER@miamidade.gov for additional information.

The shelter is open Monday – Sundays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Fostering a pet provides certain companionship in uncertain times.

The Humane Society of Greater Miami is also open providing essential services and adoptions with limited-contact procedures and hours.

For anyone looking to adopt or foster a pet, visit humanesocietymiami.org. and once you’ve found a cat or dog, fill out an adoption application form found on that website. The Humane Society will respond in 24-48 hours to discuss the application. If approved, you’ll make an appointment to continue the adoption process at the Soffer and Fine Adoption Center.

Adoption hours are Tuesday – Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. by appointment only.

Clinic visits are limited-contact as well. Anyone visiting the clinics are asked to stay in their vehicles and text a specified number (provided on site). Then you’ll receive a phone call with further instructions.  Spay/Neuter surgeries and TNR services are currently postponed, but their vaccine clinics are fully operational.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement stating there is no evidence that dogs or cats can be infected or spread the virus that causes COVID-19. Always avoid handling pets if you are sick and avoid touching animals you don’t know.

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