We recently met with Tanya Willis, Executive Director of Agape Animal Rescue - Nashville. During our interview, she shared that there is an increasing need for foster and adoptive families. As more people suffer job loss and financial insecurity due to COVID-19, individuals and families are looking into their rehoming options, which has ultimately led to an increased need for their services.

As the global pandemic continues to keep Americans at home, some are reaching out to their local animal shelters for companionship. Many shelters have seen a surge in pet fostering and permanent adoption. 

In times like these, pets give us something nothing else can: unconditional love, joy, happiness, and a smile. We’ve put together a list of reasons why fostering and adopting a pet during social isolation can not only save the lives of animals, but can also potentially benefit your health and overall well-being.

Reason One: Reduce Stress and Anxiety 

Studies show that animal-human interaction can play a significant role in lowering stress and anxiety levels. 

Interactions with pets alter the tendency of those with mental health problems to think negatively of themselves, according to the Human Bond Animal Research Institute (HBARI). Additionally, new pet owners show an increased amount of time spent outdoors and live a more active lifestyle. Minimizing anxiety and cortisol (stress hormone) in our bodies allows us to feel healthier and happier. 

Reason Two: Reduce Loneliness 

More time at home? Fostering a pet may help you feel less lonely. 

Whether it's learning new tricks, going on long walks, or simply lying on the couch together, you will always have a furry companion by your side.

Reason Three: Gives You a Larger Purpose 

Not only do humans benefit from this relationship, but animals do, too. Waking up each day and having a living thing that you love and care for gives you a larger purpose for taking care of yourself and your animal.

Staying active, eating right, getting a good amount of sleep, and staying hydrated are simple things you can do to keep your pets happy and healthy in turn. What’s good for you is good for your pet.

Reason Four: Boost Immunity

Fostering or adopting a pet may give our immune systems a much-needed boost. Having a stronger immune system will help us fight potential illnesses. 

Not only do pets help reduce anxiety and stress, but they also can decrease blood pressure levels. That being said, fostering can give you good health to not only fight whatever might come your way, but lead you to a happier and healthier life as well. 

Human-animal interaction can also benefit your pet’s immunity, too.

Reason Five: Making a Difference Locally

Willis also mentioned how animal shelters everywhere are reaching maximum capacity as the need for their services continues to climb. Shelters and rescue facilities have limited funds and space. That’s where pet foster and adoption parents come in.

As a foster parent, you are guiding your pet on their path to a fulfilling life. Feeding them a balanced diet, training them, teaching new tricks, and being their loyal companion are what pets need for healthy growth. 

Even if it’s just for a short time, fostering an animal locally can make a huge difference in your life and the community. 

Adopting a pet should be a decision that is made after looking at the long-term impact they will have on you and your family. 

Are you ready to make a 10+ year commitment? If you're hesitant, but still have love to give, maybe fostering a pet is for you!

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