Beginning in March, the Brazos County shelters and rescues experienced a high number of adoptions and fosters during the start of Brazos Valley shelter-in-place rules.

With many staying home because of the coronavirus, two local shelters said they have seen increased adoption, and one facility has also seen an increase in fostering among young families and college students. Fosters are responsible for taking care of an animal on a daily basis with all supplies provided by the shelter, according to the Aggieland Humane Society website.

The Handfuls on Purpose Enterprises, a no-kill shelter, also goes by H.O.P.E Rescue Center. The center has experienced many people adopting puppies and kittens at the start of the shelter-in-place, said Assistant Director Cambria Nierdeck.

“Right now we’re having a lot of college students and young families [adopting],” Nierdeck said. “We actually have a lot of people that say they’re adopting because they are at home and have time.”

The Aggieland Humane Society has also seen an increase in pet adoptions as well as fostering. The shelter reports that in the last month they have done over 80 adoptions and have had over 150 foster applications, said Darby McKenzie, communication coordinator.

“When we asked for help, the community stepped up,” McKenzie said. “We have yet to see a decrease in people calling and asking how they can help.”

The Aggieland Humane Society waived adoption fees in late March. The event was a success, with higher than average adoption applications coming in and many animals being adopted, McKenzie said.

The Aggieland Humane Society has adoption counseling and checks up frequently on the animals that have been adopted and are being fostered. This is done to make sure each animal finds the perfect environment to have or find a forever home, McKenzie said.

“We do everything on that end to make sure that this pet is going to fit into your lifestyle no matter what happens tomorrow,” McKenzie said.

The H.O.P.E Center has a “required return” policy that continues throughout the animal's lifetime should an owner no longer be able to care for the animal.

“For any reason, you bring it back to us and we take it back, and we find it another home,” Nierdeck said.

The shelter-in-place was the final push for Texas A&M student Alyssa Gafford-Gaby to adopt a cat, she said.

“I started looking at shelters in places where I could really help by adopting a cat,” said the international studies sophomore. “I got really lucky because when I was looking, Aggieland Humane Society was waiving all adoption fees.”

She said college students who want to help local shelters — and who want a companion — explain the recent high numbers of fosters and adoptions.

“It also has a lot to do with that we’re confined to our homes,” Gafford-Gaby said, “and that there’s so much going on. And animals offer that additional level of comfort.”

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