Lifesaving Library

Best Friends staff member holding two brown and white puppies

COVID-19 Resources: Lifesaving Programs

Especially in times of crisis and uncertainty, we need a plan to continue to save lives. The resources, tools and examples on this page will help shelters, rescue groups and other animal welfare organizations navigate necessary adaptations to their lifesaving programs:

Fostering

Adoption

Transport

Spay/Neuter Clinic Recommendations

General Lifesaving Programs


FOSTERING

There is no time like the present to leverage your community through fostering. With more individuals working from home, expanded and diversified foster programing is a great way to expand your capacity during this uncertain time.

The resources below will help you start or grow a short-term foster program, introduce and promote a foster-to-adopt program, help rescue groups open their foster homes to area shelters that are closed/modified-open, and create marketing campaigns to target new audiences to foster.

Play iconVIDEOS, WEBINARS, & PODCAST

Download iconDOWNLOADABLE PDFs, PLAYBOOKS, & SOPs

Partner iconPARTNER EXAMPLES

Template IconREADY TO GO TEMPLATES

Press release template on communicating about COVID-19 and pets

Additional IconADDITIONAL RESOURCES & INFORMATION

  • 911 Foster Pets - At 911fosterpets.com our mission is to find foster or forever homes for the millions of homeless pets that enter rescues and shelters every year. Become a foster hero to a pet in need.
  • Best Friends Vet Access: The Best Friends Vet Access app is now available for FREE to thousands of fosters.* The app allows fosters to call, video or text chat a veterinarian 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The vet will advise on if the issue is something the foster can handle at home, requires an in-person vet visit, or if the foster should seek emergency veterinary assistance. Learn more and sign up: https://bit.ly/BFVAFoster  *While supplies last.
  • Greater Good - stayhomeandfoster.org - easy way for public to foster pets.
  • Petcademy - is an online learning platform that offers free courses to new adopters and foster parents of both dogs and cats. By leveraging our community of trainers and experienced animal rescuers, Petcademy provides fosters and adopters with the resources necessary for the animals to successfully transition into their home. Network partners can register here to upload their organization’s specific foster/adopt resources so that fosters/adopters can access them along with courses.
    • Best Friends staff worked with Petcademy to develop these 3 fostering fundamentals courses:
      • Fostering fundamentals for dogs provides new foster parents with all the information necessary to successfully foster and help the dog find a furever home. The course includes lessons on how to create a safe space, read body language, and create effective social media posts to help the dog get adopted.
      • Fostering fundamentals for cats provides new foster parents with all the information necessary to successfully foster and help the cat find a furever home. The course includes lessons on how to create a safe space, provide daily care and enrichment, and create effective social media posts to help the cat get adopted.
      • Fostering fundamentals for kittens provides new foster parents with all the information necessary to successfully foster kittens. The course includes lessons on how to set up a kitten ready environment, bottle feed, and effectively socialize the kittens in preparation for adoption.
  • ZED Talks - Animal Management & Technology Blog

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ADOPTION

Continuing adoptions is vital to ensure space is available for incoming pets. Let your community know you are continuing to create adoption opportunities while also maintaining a safe and welcoming environment.

Here are 9 things you can do right now to ensure that your adoptions continue:

1) Remind people through every communication channel that your shelter is open for adoptions

2) Waive adoption fees and offer adoption promotions over an extended period

3) Extend your open hours to reduce crowding

4) Establish adoptions by appointment for an individualized experience

5) Meet people virtually in their homes. Use a Facebook or Instagram Live to walk viewers through your shelter to promote adoptable animals.

6) Provide a “virtual adoption” experience that allows for adopters to have a conversation with you and view animals via video chat versus entering the shelter.

7) Repurpose staff and volunteers to transport pets between the shelter and their new adoptive home

8) Offer a drive-by service at the shelter for adoptions to limit contact between staff and adopters

9) Provide basic care and behavior tips for pets after adoption  

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Download iconDOWNLOADABLE PDFs, PLAYBOOKS, & SOPs

Partner iconPARTNER EXAMPLES

Additional IconADDITIONAL RESOURCES & INFORMATION

  • Adoptimize - an animal shelter software that increases adoption rates, reduces length of stay and reduces your shelter operating costs by automating better photos for adoption of pets. 
  • Home to Home - Keeping animals out of shelters through direct home placement.

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TRANSPORT

The need for foster homes has never been more critical. Many organizations that are typically receiving areas for out-of-state transports are currently using their foster base to support local shelters instead.

However, some groups are still sending animals to other states. In those cases, here are 3 extra precautions to keep people and animals as safe as possible:

1) The decision to participate in transports at this time should be up to the individual. This decision should be respected by employers and other members of the team.

2) Transport personnel should utilize full personal protective equipment (PPE): gloves, closed-toe shoes, long pants, etc. Change all clothing immediately after completion of transport.

3) Use disinfectants at proper dilution ratios and contact times. Ensure all surfaces are disinfected prior to and after vehicle use.

Play iconVIDEOS, WEBINARS, & PODCAST

Download iconDOWNLOADABLE PDFs, PLAYBOOKS, & SOPs

Partner iconPARTNER EXAMPLES

Additional IconADDITIONAL RESOURCES & INFORMATION

  • COVID-19 State Travel Orders- We encourage you to check the status of all relevant states' orders before proceeding with any transport activity, as the information changes quickly and often.
  • Follow all recommendations from the CDC on disinfecting and general hygiene.
  • We have not seen any orders or guidance specifically prohibiting transport in any of the shelter in place, safer at home, or similar orders. Volunteers and staff should be cautioned that a jurisdiction could change its standard as frequently as daily and travelers may be subject to a requirement to quarantine for a period of time upon returning to their home state. We’ll continue to monitor these orders and associated guidance and share that information as it becomes available. We are working with HSUS to keep this link updated with information about the orders. We also direct you to this template letter that an organization can use for staff deemed essential by any state or local order.

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SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC RECOMMENDATIONS

It is important to check state and local authorities to see if spay and neuter clinic operations are impacted in your area.

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Download iconDOWNLOADABLE PDFs, PLAYBOOKS, & SOPs

Additional IconADDITIONAL RESOURCES & INFORMATION


GENERAL LIFESAVING PROGRAMS

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DATA

  • Chameleon- We Need Your Chameleon Data! Our friends at Pethealth have created a set of aggregated data showing trends for intakes, outcomes, foster, and transfers. The 24Pet ShelterWatch Report is published weekly and features metrics week by week and year over year, helping shelter directors like you make informed decisions. We’re hoping to start including municipal data from shelters using Chameleon software – this requires your permission. Please reach out to Karen Griggs at karen.griggs@pethealthinc.com, Managing Director, Client Services at Pethealth for more information.  
  • 24Pet ShelterWatch- Download social media content designed for animal welfare organizations to share stories. 
  • Shelter Animals Count- Help measure the impact of COVID-19: Update your April data. We hope you’ve had a chance to review the COVID-19 Impact Data Summary. Thank you to all the organizations submitting data to make that report possible. Help us to continue to identify COVID-19 impact trends by logging in to Shelter Animals Count and adding your April data by Friday, May 8. Log into SAC here.

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