As South Carolinians are shut in for who-knows-how-long, they’re looking for ways to occupy their time and still do something positive.
Alexa Sparkman, manager of volunteer programs at Pawmetto Lifeline in Columbia, says her organization has seen a big uptick in adoptions and in requests to foster.
"Our foster team has seen application after application for all sorts of pets," Sparkman says. "Young, old, puppies, moms with puppies, so you name it."
She says Pawmetto used to see about 30 adoptions per week. Recently, it saw 54.
Likewise, Fostering Foster, an animal rescue organization in Camden, is seeing more interest, and with an encouraging twist.
"It’s actually new families coming forth wanting to help and save some animals," says founder and director Andrea Walker.
Saving animals means saving them from euthanasia at, typically, county shelters. Walker says Fostering Foster -- named for a dog she (very erroneously, it turns out) didn't think she was ready to have in her life 15 years ago -- rescues a lot of animals from rural shelters, like Kershaw Counties. These shelters can oly handle so much, and animals that don't get adopted likely will get put down unless an organization like Walker's steps in.
With a lot of the state’s county-level services shut down or greatly reduced by the coronavirus outbreak, no-kill rescue and pet adoption agencies have had to take in more animals as a way to stave off higher euthanization numbers.
Operations at rescues and shelters have changed fast.
"We had to close us down to appointment only for adoptions and allowing people in on a controlled basis because it was a surge," says Mary Beth Knapp, chair of the York County Humane Society.
While this surge in interest is good news for adoption orgnizations, there’s a question not too far back in everybody’s mind: When we all go back to our lives outside of the house, will these newly homed pets just end up back in a shelter somewhere?
"I think there is some concern about that," Walker says. "But I think with good screening and good conversations with new adopters we can pick out those adopters that are truly in it and are going to truly love those animals for the rest of their lives."
Pawmetto Lifeline is offering online foster training and virtual volunteer orientations, Sparkman says. She says Pawmetto is doing whatever it can to make sure people are involved for the right reasons, and to keep them involved as they weather the outbreak.
Scott Morgan is the Upstate Multimedia Reporter for South Carolina Public Radio. Follow Scott on Twitter @ByScottMorgan