Quarantine companions: Demand surges for foster pets

Bringing in a new roommate when you're about to be quarantined 24/7 together might be a risky decision, but all over America, people are willingly giving rescue pets a comfy spot to ride out the pandemic. 

"When we put the call out, it was completely overwhelming," said Ashley Campion the co-founder of Crumbs and Whiskers, a highly Instagramable cat cafe in D.C. and Los Angeles. 

No visitors means no potential adopters, but after an email and some social media, all their cats had a warm home and new foster families. 

"Any animal that comes into your home is going to be a little startled for next few days, so, patience is really great quality for a foster parent," said Campion. 

Fostering is a two-way street. Not only will it give you a quarantine companion, but it also gives the animal a better quality of life and a better chance at finding the right forever home.

"And when they're in a foster environment, they're able to get that one on one individualized attention and be loved a little bit more."

Lisa LaFontaine with the Humane Rescue Alliance said they received some 2,000 calls to foster. Last year that number was only about 130

"I've always known that animals were great healers, and that they were social lubricants, and I think that's just going off the charts right now," LaFontaine said. 

Another bonus to this new normal: for some shelters, adoption and fostering has become virtual and nearly contactless. 

"People literally didn't have to leave their cars. They could just pull into the parking lot, get their foster animal and then we're giving them support afterwards," said LaFontaine. 

There will always be animals in shelters, but now, workers can focus on sick pets rather than day to day care. 

Animal shelters are essential businesses and still they need all the help they can get.