97 www.CoronavirusMag.com | www.ReadMPM.com | www.ILoveMountPleasant.com feature BY JEANNE TAYLOR Our Pets Our Lifeline J ust like that the world came to a standstill. The novel COVID-19 will be viewed as one of the worst pandemics in world history, having claimed over 200,000 lives worldwide as of April 25 bringing economies to their knees and creating crippling anxieties among the masses. What we did not count on was the critical importance our pets would play at this time in our lives. Orders were issued to work from home. People feeling unwell were told to quarantine in place. This way of living was new for many, and having the added bonus of a pet at home gave homebound people emotional support during a very trying time. There were varying reports and schools of thought on whether pets could carry the virus or whether humans could transmit it to them. These were essentially debunked as the virus was shown to be human-to- human transmittable. Per the OIE World Organisation for Animal Health, “There is no evidence that dogs play a role in the spread of this human disease or that they become sick. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19 virus.” Caution was recommended to assuage fears and it was suggested that pets be wiped down after exposure to humans. People without pets, or those whose pets were agreeable to having furry friends, answered the calls of many shelters and rescues and they began to foster. The inventory of our local shelters decreased dramatically in a short time, allowing them to limit their staffing and the associated risks of viral spread. It’s hard not to fall in love with a pet once it has been in your home for a while, and many of these foster pets will become permanent family members. Some will return Photos by Jeanne Taylor.