Coronavirus

Rise in pet adoptions as their new owners find ways to help ease stress of coronavirus isolation

Greyhound Rescue President Natalie Panzarino. Source: SBS News

Greyhounds have been a popular choice as more people adopt pets to help them get through social isolation.

As more people prepare for months of being largely confined to their homes, there has been a surge in pet adoptions with greyhounds proving a popular choice.

Greyhound Rescue President Natalie Panzarino said the shelter has recorded double the number of adoptions, up to about eight a week, and triple the number of applications for foster.

And despite being the fastest canine in the world, she said greyhounds are the ideal companion animal for people living in apartments.

"We refer to them lovingly as the 70km per hour couch potato. They can run really fast but they prefer to spend most of their time on the couch," Ms Panzarino told SBS News.

Pet adoption numbers have surged across the country as Australians prepare for months indoors.
Pet adoption numbers have surged across the country as Australians prepare for months indoors.
SBS News

"Greyhounds are notoriously good company, quiet and calm, good for spending long periods of time indoors."

While it could take just one week to be sharing the sofa with a greyhound, Ms Panzarino has some advice.

"When this [coronavirus pandemic] all blows over we want to make sure these people can commit as well," she said.

The rise in pet adoptions from shelters is occurring Australia-wide.

Like many, father of six Gary Evans said his family is finding it challenging spending so much time indoors.

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His daughter Charlotte proposed they adopt a cat and a day later they were at RSPCA NSW base in Yagoona, welcoming Betty into their family.

"I jumped on the computer and started looking and I found Betty," Charlotte, 11, told SBS News.

Mr Evans is looking forward to taking home his new six-month-old cat.

"Hopefully she keeps everybody a little more focussed, gives them something to do, playing with something at the same time," he said. 

Animal shelters have welcomed the rise in adoptions, with RSPCA South Australia reporting that they've adopted out more than 550 animals in the last ten days.

RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said the shelter found new homes for 300 animals last weekend and are preparing 650 animals to meet the unprecedented demand.

"Animals in our view are an essential component in people’s mental health," Mr Coleman said.

More than 50 per cent of foster families end up lifelong pet owners, he said. 

"It gets these animals out of our shelter, gives them a chance to be socially enriched and also for the humans, it's also an opportunity to really get to know an animal before they may commit," Mr Coleman said.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. 

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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