It’s not too late to add a four-legged, quarantine companion, but it might take a little longer.
The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) processed adoptions Wednesday, despite being short-staffed and postponing public clinics and events. Volunteers and staff who can work from home were told not to report to the facility just southwest of Interstate 25 and Cimarron Street as a protective measure against the spread of coronavirus.
“We still want people to be coming in. We still want them to be adopting,” Gretchen Pressley, HSPPR’s community relations manager, said Wednesday. “We just can’t have that many people in the building at once.”
Starting Thursday, HSPPR will limit the number of people in the building. Adoptions are expected to continue but surrenders require an appointment, Pressley said. The local humane society’s Facebook page noted a decrease in adoptions Monday, but Elizabeth Schultz, an HSPPR staffer, noted more people visiting prospective pets than usual Wednesday.
“It’s busier than normal,” Schultz said. “Unfortunately, because we have less people here, we’re really feeling it.”
John and Vanessa Graf were among those adding to the family, taking home a black, shorthair cat. With John, a railroad engineer, and Vanessa, a cosmetologist, both furloughed from work, they figured the time was right.
“We’ve been kind of searching for awhile,” Vanessa said. “We have the time now to take care of him, really kind of give him the time he needs since we’re both off of work with the whole pandemic.”
Christian Malacara, an owner of Montage Salon & BarberStop, took home an energetic Chihuahua mix named Tucker.
“I love his stance. I love his little bit of aloofness. He seems independent, and I like that in animals,” Malacara said. “When we went to meet him, he was very loving and warmed right up.”
Malacara visited the shelter a few times per week for the past month and said the salon moving to operating on a mostly appointment-only basis at the same time was mostly a coincidence.
“Animals need homes,” he said. “Even during this time of health crisis, it’s important for us to remember that and provide that.”
Pressley said the number of animals HSPPR is caring for is “under control,” but she’s heard of other shelters nearing capacity. That could be the case in Colorado Springs over the next couple of weeks depending on the number of animals coming in and developments with the virus.
“It is getting into spring, though, so we are already starting to see those litters of kittens and some puppies coming in, which is going to be very challenging for us on limited staff to care for all those animals,” Pressley said. “That’s where that foster team is so important.”
If adopting, or fostering, a pet isn’t an option, Pressley said a donation is the next best option with volunteers on hold. Though it might take a little longer than usual, the HSPPR staff still would like to help make the extra time at home a little less lonely.
“If you feel like this is something you can handle right now and would like some companionship, a quarantine buddy, we would love to help you find that,” Pressley said.