RSPCA NSW has more than 2300 animals in its care – and now the organisation is calling on the community to help find “forever homes” and foster carers for many of those animals. As difficult as this prolonged period of self-isolation will be, the RSPCA says it’s the perfect time to take in a new pet. Not only will carers be home to provide plenty of attention and training, the animals provide much-needed companionship for those feeling lonely.

“Now is the ideal time to adopt an animal and ease the transition period of welcoming them into their new home,” says Kieran Watson, a spokesperson for RSPCA NSW. “Animals make great companions and their love and loyalty is pure and priceless. Having my rescue dog by my side lifts my spirits every day, and I think people are looking for that little extra spark of joy and happiness given the current climate.”

Watson says people have cottoned onto the idea – pet adoptions in NSW are up from 228 at the start of the month to 390 this past week. “Having a companion to be there and ‘listen’ to you, even if they can’t speak back, is important for our mental health, especially now,” says Watson. “Pets can also provide a structure for your daily life that you might feel is currently missing.”

RSPCA NSW has about about 500 dogs, 170 puppies, 500 cats and almost 1000 kittens (as well as rabbits, horses and guinea pigs) currrently in its care. Watson stresses that these animals require a long-term commitment – it’s not just a matter of looking after a pet for a couple of weeks, then sending them back when the shutdown ends. For animal-lovers who can’t commit long-term, the organisation is also seeking foster carers to help with the influx of animals arriving at the shelters during this period.

Because of coronavirus, the adoption process has changed. Those interested in adopting a pet are being asked to fill out a form and book an appointment for a meet-and-greet. All animals adopted from RSPCA NSW are desexed, vaccinated, microchipped and behaviourally and medically assessed.

Find more information on adptions here, and more information on foster care here.