• Barry KuKes

Uncertainty: Now we know how a shelter animal must feel

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

I have seen numerous news stories about how COVID-19 has affected people and their mental state. Many people have developed different forms of depression and anxiety due to having their lives turned upside down. Our regular routines have been disrupted, we are asked to wear a mask, visiting friends and relatives is discouraged, and many of our favorite activities are no longer available. Sporting events are restricted, some college conferences have canceled their season, NBA basketball is being played in a “bubble” to prevent the introduction of the virus, and many of the players are already complaining about having not seen their kids or wife for over six weeks.

Now, let’s think about the daily life of a shelter animal, during a virus or not. Every day, their routine is controlled and disrupted. No longer can they walk around freely and play or explore. They are placed in a kennel and they wait for someone to adopt them. They are fed and taken outside for a walk a couple of times a day, but the freedom they once enjoyed has been replaced with an existence of lonely captivity. They are protected from the elements, but they are not experiencing the love of a family. Many of the animals in shelters used to belong to someone and now miss being loved by their dad and/or mom.

The next time you see or hear a news story about the terrible conditions some uninfected people are enduring because of COVID, think about the shelter animals who endure similar conditions with seclusion and total lack of freedom added to the mix. Not being able to go bowling or to your favorite pub or to a movie theater is an inconvenience but, a shelter dog cannot walk further than 8 feet without being forced to turnaround and walk back the other way. A shelter cat can walk only 4 feet without needing to turnaround.

The point is, a shelter animal would be oh so happy to share your lovely home or snuggle up next to you on the couch in your apartment, if you would just give them a chance. Their freedom and lifestyle are not being controlled by a virus or government guidelines. Their life is in your hands. Your decision to rescue a shelter animal may very well result in the animal rescuing you from the COVID doldrums. Think about it. Visit your local shelter and make a new best friend. The decision is yours. There is one decision you don’t need to make, and that is adopt, don’t shop.


Contact Barry KuKes, community outreach director for the Halifax Humane Society, at barryk@halifaxhumanesociety.org.

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