Summer creates unique challenges for nonprofits in general due to family vacations, changing work and school schedules, and a number of other factors. Due to COVID, we have an opportunity as a community to help in new and different ways. Here are some ways to help animals and give back this summer!
Why are the summer months more challenging at SICSA than other times of the year?
Influx of Animals
During the summer months, we see an influx of animals for multiple reasons. Kitten season is in full swing, meaning we have a multitude of kittens and pregnant animals being surrendered into our care. While we see an increase in animals coming in, we also struggle with families having summer plans, and thus not wanting to introduce a new pet. During the warmer months, we also see an increase in the number of lost pets. This can be for a
number of reasons, ranging from fireworks, to more general outdoor time.
Why is it a problem?
Abnormal Strain On Resources
With more animals in our care, we as a shelter have more needs. As the number of pets in our care increases, so does our need for food to feed them, and staff to care for them. While our needs increase, other vital elements decrease. As many people head out of town, we see less volunteers, and receive fewer responses to our marketing and fundraising efforts. With increased needs and decreased support, we find ourselves struggling through this time of year.
Concerns Regarding Managing Disease Due to Crowding
With an increased number of pets comes an increased concern of disease management due to crowding. In any highly populated environment, it is easier for animals to catch illnesses from one another. Decreased adoptions and sick animals can mean an extended length of stay. All of this increases the risk of illness. If animals do begin to get sick, a strain is placed on our veterinary resources. Overall, this can create an issue for SICSA and our pets.
Why is this summer potentially different?
The elephant in the room this summer is of course, COVID-19. While we already face obstacles in the summer months, the virus has added new challenges. Earlier in the course of the pandemic, we saw a number of adopters take in what were affectionately deemed “COVID pets”. These animals were adopted when people were working from home and had more time available for their new pet. As the pandemic moves forward, it seems fewer people are in the market for these cats and dogs. Beyond this, animals have been surrendered due to the virus. In some instances, owners have become ill or unemployed, and thus unable to care for their pets. In other cases, adopters who had time during the stay at home order are now returning to work, and realizing they cannot keep the pets they had taken in. The financial hardship some are facing due to job loss has also lead to hesitancy to adopt, as some are unsure when they will have steady income again.
Social distancing adds another layer to the COVID complications. In order to ensure the safety of our guests, we have had to limit the number of adopters in a given area of the building at one time. This means a restriction on how many adoptions we can process in a given day. Social distancing guidelines must also be followed by staff, further limiting how many employees can work together at once. This also limits the number of volunteer shifts available, thus eliminating some much-needed help we usually have from our amazing animal advocates. Overall, COVID adds an unexpected twist, and unique situations to our summer.
How Can You Help?
Start at Home
Make sure your pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped. This can help slow the population increase seen during summer months, and help you be reunited with your pup if they do become lost.
Volunteer to foster animals for SICSA. By taking our animals into your home, you can aid in socialization while giving them a loving environment to grow in until they are able to be adopted. For more information on fostering, click here.
We will be taking new volunteers in August! New volunteers can take their orientation course online. Then, they can come in and act as a SICSA host, or do laundry and dishes! To learn more about volunteering, the various positions, and how to get involved, click here.
Share information SICSA shares on social media. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@sicsa) to keep up with us, and share the information we post with your friends. Spreading the word is a free, and easy way to help out local animals!
Donations, whether they be financial, or items that can be used by the shelter, are helpful. This is especially true given our inability to host all of our usual fundraising events. You can donate through our website here. You can also view the items we are in need of here.
Taking these steps can greatly aid SICSA and other shelters during the summer months, and throughout the year. Your consideration can make a huge impact in the lives of local animals!