How to find a furry friend during a pandemic

Searching for the Perfect Pet to Keep You Company During Quarantine?  COVID-19 Presents Unique Challenges…and Some Unexpected Opportunities

Bear smiles and waits for a treat while out on a walk with us. Photo courtesy of Molly Clark

During the Covid-19 crisis, my cousin Shannon visited our family with her dog, Bear. Bear is an 8-year-old plott hound/Great Dane mix filled with lots of cuddles and slobber. He loves butt scratches and naps and is willing to do anything you want. As she stayed longer and longer because of a broken elbow from an indoor skateboard injury, we all began to fall deeper in love with Bear. After they both went home, our search for a dog was officially on.

We knew we wanted a dog with Bear-like qualities. We even made jokes about cloning him, or maybe even stealing him from Shannon. Unfortunately, cloning a dog can cost upwards of $50,000 and stealing him would just be mean.  

Bear wears his Miami Marlins hat. He says it’s his favorite. Photo courtesy of Molly Clark

However, the search for the perfect dog turned out to be a bigger project than we expected, due in part to the pandemic.

Living alone during this time became  very lonely, but having a furry friend by our side can help with that. In the month of March, animal shelters began to see the increase of fostering/adopting dogs from shelters. Because we are trying our best to stay at home, this gave us  lots of time to train our new friend.

We started with scouring petfinder.com. Pet Finder is an amazing website with plenty of different search tools to help you narrow down your search. The search criteria include variables such as breed, gender, age, color, geographic area and much more. 

Each dog has a personalized page with a handful of pictures to look through, a quick bio and contact information for where to find them.

A downside of using Petfinder, is most pets listed on the website are available through animal shelters, which can lead to a few problems that we ran into. 

Bear is excited to go on walks. Here, he’s wagging his tail. Photo courtesy of Molly Clark

One of the challenges we discovered using Petfinder is that there is no centralized application process; therefore, we had to complete and apply for each and every dog we were interested in. Once these applications are submitted, and because of the pressures the systems were facing because of the pandemic, it would often take days to hear back from the shelter, if we heard back from them at all.

Unfortunately, because of this long waiting process, and the hundreds of applications the individual shelters have to read through, the dog applied for, is more than likely adopted before  even hearing a response.

Because of our growing frustration with Petfinder.com, we started to expand our reach using other resources, including Adoptapet.com and Craigslist. We did experience similar issues with application processes and response times.

Beau plays with his favorite squeaky toy. Photo courtesy of Molly Clark

Craigslist though, was very helpful. They have a user-friendly mobile app that has many different search options. You can search different areas quickly and easily, and contact sellers through the apps interface. However, because there is no application or approval process (because they are privately posted), the dogs are adopted almost as quickly as they are listed. We were able to find lots of dogs off of Craigslist and could quickly hear back from their owners.

While on Craigslist, I came across a dog named Beau. He is a labrador/Great Dane mix and is three and a half years old. Our whole family fell in love with him, so we decided to reach out. Beau was found in New Mexico as a stray in 2018 and was taken to an animal shelter in Denver, Colorado and had been up for adoption since. As the pandemic grew bigger, and they began to foster out their dogs. Natalie Farmer chose him to be her new buddy. Farmer fostered him from an animal shelter to help keep her company during the pandemic. We got in contact with her, and we immediately knew he was our boy. We Zoom called and met Beau and Natalie and set up a time to meet. 

One of the listed pictures on Craigslist for Beau’s adoption. It’s how we fell in love with him. Photo courtesy of Natalie Farmer

She was down in Kentucky, so we began to plan our road trip. Beforehand we bought supplies and toys to help welcome him home. It would be a 12 hours round trip, but we were all so thrilled. When we arrived, he was very excited to meet us. He’s very funny, and because he is half lab, he’s a bit of a spaz. 

Finding and adopting a dog during the pandemic was definitely more difficult than we thought it would be. While adopting we made sure to follow the CDC guidelines and appropriately social-distance in order to maintain our safety.

As we have gotten to know him more over the past few days, he has shown us his love for rolling around in the grass and squeaky toys.

Molly Clark

Molly Clark

Hi! My name is Molly Clark and I'm a junior at Gull Lake High School. I enjoy writing, taking pictures and traveling. I would like to pursue writing and turn it into my profession.

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