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Coronavirus Update: Thousands Of New Yorkers Apply To Foster Furry Friends During Isolating Crisis

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The coronavirus outbreak has many people feeling isolated in their homes, but some New Yorkers are finding comfort in a new best friend.

It was love at first sight for Yea-Eun Schwartz and her new foster dog.

"So cuddly, gave us tons of kisses, and we were like, yup, Snickers, we're taking you home," she told CBS2's Ali Bauman.

The Upper West Side resident brought Snickers home from the shelter just a few days ago.

"We're so happy to know that at 2 o'clock, yes, we're going out. At 6 o'clock, we're going out," Schwartz said. "It gives us some structure to the day."


Last week, as the coronavirus outbreak started ramping up in the tri-state area, Animal Care Centers of New York City put out a plea on social media, looking for people to foster or adopt the pets in their shelters.

Katy Hansen is their communications director.

"We need to get short-term fosters to get as many animals out of the shelter as possible because we didn't know how our staff would be impacted, so the less animals we have in the shelter, the better it will be for everybody," she said.

New Yorkers Helping New Yorkers

We asked for help. You answered. New Yorkers continue to amaze us! Thank you, everyone, for helping our boroughbreds find foster homes. UPDATE 3/19: thank you to everyone who has filled out an application to become a foster. Due to the amount of applications received we ask for your patience as we sort through them all! #nycacc #boroughbred #accfoster

Posted by Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Since then, they've received nearly 5,000 applications from prospective foster parents. Typically, the shelter has less than 1,000 foster families in all.

"We've actually seen the most support among the millennials," Hansen said. "I talk to a lot of people that say, 'I would love to have a pet, but I'm never home. I'm always working.' And now they're home."

Now that most New Yorkers have to work from home for the time being, taking in a pet can help with some of the loneliness.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text 692692 | Westchester Testing Call 1(888)-364-3065 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Case Tracker | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

"Having another heartbeat in the house is pretty nice right now if you're alone," Hansen said.

"It's taking advantage of a situation that is bad for all of us, but making the best of it," Schwartz said.

For those who can't adopt, Hansen says you can still care for the city's animals by checking in with neighbors who have pets to see if they need pet food or supplies.

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