According to Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, the rates of fostering, in particular, have increased by 90 percent in some cities. “Folks who don’t have animals for one reasons or another, because of their work schedule or their travel schedule, that’s all changed right now,” Block says. Some New York City shelters are seeing application numbers at 10 times the normal rate. One Pennsylvania shelter saw its foster application numbers rise from three-to-five per week to 40 per day. Many shelters, for their part, are waiving adoption fees, easing financial strain on new pet parents who may already be struggling economically due to the Covid-19 outbreak. “People who aren’t able to foster or adopt are going to their local shelters’ websites, seeing what they need, and are dropping off blankets and pet food,” says Block. “In the midst of all these things that are so challenging and so hard, communities are really stepping up for these animals.”
It Was a Long and Sad Quarantine
That is the line that will take over for the famous, “dark and stormy night” opening line. Who will get credit for this, or some variation of this line, as we hopefully move years and decades from this pandemic? My guess, is it will get credited to someone more famous than either you or me. But for starters, let’s revisit dark and stormy.
You can thank the Victorian writer and politician Sir Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, for this now-cliche phrase. In the centuries since Bulwer-Lytton used it to open his 1830 novel “Paul Clifford,” it has come to symbolize overwritten, melodramatic prose — a style at which the Victorians excelled, although for them it was the height of fashion. While not necessarily the worst offender, Bulwer-Lytton wrote many such cringe-worthy openers in his novels and plays. However, the “dark and stormy” example is by far his most famous (or infamous). Interestingly, the phrase is only a fragment of the full sentence, which reads, in full: “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” That sentence has become so notorious in the literary world that there’s even an annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest sponsored by the English Department of San José State University. Contestants are asked “to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.” The “dark and stormy” phrase was further popularized by Charles M. Schulz in his “Peanuts” comic strip, wherein the wannabe writer Snoopy is often portrayed typing, “It was a dark and stormy night.”
Source: Minnesota Public Radio | Date Updated: May 7, 2020
How about, in contrast, “It was a light and sunny day”, or “It was a happy, and joyous day” instead?
What will you remember most from these shelter in place days?
Wearing a mask
White House comedy show
Missing family and friends
Long food lines
Nothing good on TV
Tired of reading
CNN death count
Names of drugs you will never take
Bending the curve
But as a pet lover, with a beautiful puppy, I am pleased to hear that pet adoptions have skyrocketed. Each year, over 6.5 million pets enter animal shelters, though the number has declined from 7.2 million in 2011. Each year, 1.5 million are euthanized, also declining from 2.6 million in 2011. Happily, 3.2 million pets are adopted each year. And 710,000 who enter as strays are reunited with their owners.
During the shelter in place, animal shelters are reporting record adoptions. Many have reported, “No dogs available for adoption!” Unheard of in recent times. Thank you to everyone who has made a forever home to a deserving animal. We have adopted two dogs in our household over the years.
Wired says: The humans taking these animals into their homes see it the other way around. When you can’t leave your apartment to socialize, and touch has become taboo, many have found themselves yearning for animal companionship. “Being socially isolated, you’re at risk for depression and loneliness, and, in older adults, we know loneliness is associated with early death, Alzheimer’s,” says Sandy Branson, who researches the impact of pets on wellbeing at the University of Texas’ Cizik School of Nursing. “They think it’s as serious as smoking cigarettes.” According to Branson’s research, while pets cannot completely fill the void left by isolation from other humans, they do provide emotional support, fulfill the human need for touch, and offer significant relief to their caretaker’s stress and anxiety levels. “Giving to another being is a reason to wake up in the morning,” Branson says.
Just remember, if you can, to support animal rescue organizations. My favorite is Wings of Rescue, run by a friend of mine, Ric. We donate annually, and also in other people’s names when we receive an act of kindness from them.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and keep those animals happy!