Humans are told to stay at home, avoid gatherings and practice social distancing in an effort to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease. But for an animal shelter CEO, she said quarantine and social distancing is best done with a companion.

“If you don’t have a pet and are thinking about getting one, now is the perfect time to ‘try it on’ by fostering from your local shelter,” Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, told PEOPLE in an interview on how more people can help rescue pets.

Pets are not at risk of spreading COVID-19, as stated by the World Health Organization, American Veterinary Medical Association and The Centers for Disease Control. Fostering or adopting a pet at this time of need would largely help your local animal shelters.

“Animal shelters across the country are having to deal with an increase of dogs and cats in need of homes because fewer people are visiting shelters right now, and in some cases, shelters are having to temporarily close to the public,” Castle added. “Some animal shelters are already seeing an increase in intake, and many are bracing themselves for the possibility of fewer adoptions and fewer foster homes, and are concerned about limited space.”

Time and again, science only proves how much dogs and cats bring so much happiness in humans’ lives. Castle added that it is not only safe to have pets inside your homes, but they can also serve as a source of comfort during this crisis.

“The companionship of pets has been shown to reduce stress and lower anxiety, helping people to feel calmer and more secure when the news from the outside world is distressing,” Castle added.

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