This Dog’s Sad Story Leaves Shelter Bracing For An Onslaught Of Orphaned Pets

The global pandemic has already disrupted schools, work, business, family, and daily life as we know it. Now shelters are witnessing the coronavirus’ devastating toll on America’s pets.

Che-Che is a New Jersey dog who found herself suddenly homeless after two family members died from COVID-19. “We can’t imagine what it’s like for a dog like her to suddenly lose everything she’s ever known and then end up in an unfamiliar place,” Monmouth County SPCA wrote on Facebook, recalling how the frightened pooch was literally shaking with fear when she first arrived in the shelter.

Photo: Facebook/ Monmouth County SPCA

Staff rushed to comfort the frightened dog, although her former owner’s exposure to COVID-19 meant shelter staff needed to wear masks, gloves, and other protective gear to safely handle the 9-pound pup. Experts agree that dogs and cats can’t carry enough of the virus to infect other humans, but they could theoretically transfer trace elements of the virus in their fur. (This is why you should keep pets inside your house or yard if you’re in self-isolation).

Fortunately, the frightened pup calmed down once she had been held for a while. “Our staff knew Che-Che needed some comfort and even through our PPE,” rescuers wrote, referring to their protective gear, “we could tell a loving touch was all it took to help her to feel safe.”

We've all seen how COVID-19 is affecting businesses, events, families and now we're faced with the reality of it taking…

Posted by Monmouth County SPCA on Monday, April 13, 2020

Che-Che will receive a full veterinary check-up, dental care, vaccines, a spay operation, and “a warm bubbly bath so that rubbery gloves and crinkly gowns are no longer needed to give her some affection!” rescuers wrote on Facebook, clarifying that this sweet girl isn’t quite ready for adoption. “When Che-Che is ready, we plan to honor the family and those they lost by finding this sweet little girl the perfect home.”

Sadly, rescuers don’t expect Che-Che’s heartbreaking story is an isolated case. “Unfortunately, Che-Che is the first of many animals that we anticipate needing a safe haven in these uncertain times,” rescuers explained in a lengthy post. “We’re asking for your support NOW so that we can ensure every animal has a loving place to call home while they’re temporary without one.”

You can help pandemic orphans like Che-Che by donating to the Monmouth County SPCA’s “Compassion Counts” Matching Gift Campaign online or via their Facebook page. Donations up to $200,000 will be matched dollar-to-dollar by an anonymous donor.

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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