Just laying on the couch with a pet can be a nice distraction from the strange world we’re now living in. But like any relationship, it takes work to raise a pet.

COVID-19 has caused many residents to become homebound and while they can still adopt animals, the Gillette Animal Shelter does not want people to take them home just because there is little to do or few places to go.

“Please do not adopt a pet in hopes that it will keep your family busy while at home,” according to the shelter. “When this crisis passes, those pets will still need care and love. Please do not adopt a pet to fix a temporary situation; adoption is forever.”

Adopting a pet while people are at home because of COVID-19 is understandable, but “I encourage people to think ahead,” said Erin Lile, Gillette Animal Shelter supervisor.

The biggest fear of seeing a big uptick in adoptions is that sometimes people do it because they not thinking of the future. For example, the shelter sees an increase in adoptions after a school year ends, but then it sees an increase of pets being brought in the fall because people did not have a long-term plan to take care of them, she said.

“Our biggest goal here at the shelter right now is to keep animals in their homes,” Lile said.

A look at the numbers

March 2020 pet adoption numbers were down compared to recent years. Nine cats and 16 dogs were adopted as pets as compared to March 2019 when 29 dogs and 37 cats found a home.

“Those numbers are lower mainly due to adoptions being completely shut down for two weeks in March,” Lile said.

Since re-opening up for adoptions on March 30, the Animal Shelter has seen an increase in adoptions “and I see no reason why we won’t continue to do so,” she said.

The shelter adopted out three dogs since Saturday, which is “pretty good for this time of year.” It also has been receiving phone calls from residents who are ready to add another family member, Lile said.

As of Monday, there are 17 cats and three dogs in foster care, and 21 cats and four dogs that are adoptable.

People interested in adopting a pet can contact the shelter at 307-686-5249 from 1-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

For a look at what animals are available, visit https://tinyurl.com/v6ozrtn.

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