A CORK-based animal welfare group has been inundated with foster applications since the spread of Covid-19 sent people across the country into isolation.
Many people who are now working from home and self-isolating have offered their help to foster dogs in need of a home.
Vicky Hurley, of Cork Dog Action Welfare Group (DAWG), said that the huge number of applications is “positive”.
“We’ve had a very large number of people offering to foster just for the reason that they’re going to be at home for the next few weeks,” she said.
“We have had a huge amount of applications which is positive, absolutely.
“In the last few days we’ve been able to get eight dogs into foster care which is fantastic.
“I have 18 people to get back to and all in all since the weekend we’ve had about 50.
“That mightn’t sound a lot but it is, we wouldn’t have 50 in a month usually.”
She said that bigger dogs have been more difficult to place in foster care because the criteria to home a larger dog remains the same.
A large secured garden is required.
She said that Cork DAWG are taking a slightly different approach to how they are matching up foster homes with a suitable dog and how they are homing the dogs during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Usually when we home a dog we would call out to the house and do the home visit and have a chat with the people,” she said.
“That’s being done now by video, by WhatsApp and people are good, they understand so they’re sending in pictures and videos of their garden just to make sure it’s secure.
“A lot of it is done through distance. We are also bringing the dog to the home, we’re not leaving people into the kennel to collect dogs because it’s limiting people going in and we have to respect the people working in the kennels as well.”
She said that they continue to be mindful of children also when placing dogs in foster care.
“We do always have to be careful with very young children,” she said. It has always been that way, just for the reason that the dogs wouldn’t have had exposure to children under the age of five.
“She said that the length of time dogs spend in foster care depends on the dog and that she is aware of the uncertainty surrounding how long people will remain in isolation for and how long they will have the dogs for.
“Some dogs could be in foster care for two or three weeks, some dogs could be in foster for months, so it does depend on the particular dog,” she said. “I am placing dogs [who can be homes] in the foster homes.
“The plan is that by the time things return to normal the dog will have had a permanent home. We’re trying to avoid them having to go back into a kennel situation.
“There are some dogs that we would call tricky dogs who would be harder to home. We are tending to hold onto them because it’s not fair to mess them around, it’s not fair to leave them in a home for two or three weeks and then expect them to go back to a kennel.”
She said that the negative impact that Covid-19 is having on Cork DAWG, which is fund-ridden, is in the postponement of its fundraising events and closure of its charity shop in Midleton.
“We’ve had to stop all our fundraising,” she said. “It’s a two-sided thing.
“We had fundraising events planned but we’ve had to stop them and we had to close our charity shop.
“Longterm, we’ll probably feel the effects. It’s only been a week so we’re getting the positive effects.
“We’re trying to be positive and just take the good things that are happening because nobody knows what will happen.
“The last week has been beneficial to us and it’s been beneficial to the dogs.”