PAWS Chicago launches temporary pet foster program due to COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) -- COVID-19 is bringing new challenges for pet owners. PAWS Chicago is offering support, introducing a new initiative providing help to owners working on the front lines and those experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus-related layoffs.

"We wanted to create this program, we call it our Crisis Care Foster Initiative, and that is open to anyone effected by COVID-19."

"It's an honor for us to be able to help the hospital workers on the front line that don't have to worry about their pets as they're working around the clock," said Sarah McDonald, PAWS Chicago's associate director of media and community relations. "We want to put your pet in a safe, loving, temporary home, of course, with a full goal of getting your pet back to you once your back on your feet."

The organization started formulating plans for the program, called the Crisis Care Foster Initiative, a few weeks ago, and recently posted to their website and social channels to get the word out.

"Chicago is such an animal loving community," McDonald said. "We have this amazing foster network of people that want to help."

Interested pet owners will need to fill out a form explaining their situation and then PAWS will work to place the pet with a temporary foster family.

"It's sort of like a match making process for our foster network," McDonald said.

Foster families will work to keep first responders in touch with their furry family members until they come home.

"Our foster volunteers will obviously be in communication, send you pictures, help keep that morale up so you're able to continue being heroes and helping us get better," McDonald said.

The pandemic has not forced PAWS to stop its essential work, either.

"We're so happy to be able to help not only the people get through this, but to also still be here on the front lines, doors open to help continue saving dogs and cats because we're their voice," McDonald said. "They don't stop needing us, even in times of pandemic."

Find out more about the Crisis Care Foster Initiative on PAWS Chicago's website:www.pawschicago.org.
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