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Pet Foster and Adoption Has Soared Since COVID-19 Took Hold Of The US

New York (CBS) - With so many people working from home, animal shelters and rescue groups across the country have been flooded with foster and adoption requests at unprecedented levels.

For more than a year, the Holzers in Maryland had been looking to adopt a dog. And then came the news that everyone in the family would suddenly be staying home. "We'd been thinking about it, but my husband and I both work full time and we just didn't know how we'd manage to integrate a puppy into our family and house training the dog, and I just thought, wow, we gotta do it now," says Jessica Holzer.

Through Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Washington, DC, they brought home two-month-old Georgie, who quickly became a member of the family. "What a silver lining for my children who are out of school, you know, there's this scary virus going around, they can't have playdates. She's like a little miracle for us," Holzer says.

Rescue groups and animal shelters say they're getting offers to help out like never before, and the need could grow if owners suddenly become unable to care for their pets or shelter staff is reduced. If people aren't in a place to make it a more permanent decision, there are still other ways to help, like fostering - bringing home a pet until they're ready for adoption.

Sarah Brasky is the executive director of Foster Dogs, Inc., which places thousands of dogs each year in New York City homes. "We're actually flooded right now with people who are interested in fostering," Brasky says.

Through virtual adoption events, her group and others nationwide have been working nonstop to get as many pets into homes as possible. "There are shelters around the country that are mobilizing in ways that they've never done before where they are saying it is so urgent that we get all our animals out of this facility and be able to take in new animals and be able to get these animals into safe places because we don't know what the next weeks, days are gonna bring," Brasky says.

Erin Trotta usually only fosters on the weekend, but she's now hosting a 10-month-old mastiff mix Bubba full-time as she works from home. "It's been something that has definitely made a difference in my day-to-day life. Just having someone who's there for me, someone to keep me entertained, make me laugh," Trotta says.

It's certain companionship in uncertain times.

Each year, about 6.5 million dogs and cats are taken in by shelters nationwide, according to the ASPCA. Rescue groups say they're also in need of donations right now.

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