The shelter cares for pets while their owners are locked in isolation facilities

The city’s premier pet shelter offers felines and dogs in need a temporary home during this special time.

The temporary shelter for pets belonging to confirmed COVID-19 cases or their relatives in Laoximen Subdistrict of Huangpu District was opened on May 7 on Jiangyin Street. Its director and founder Zhai Jiang also owns a nearby pet clinic called Babara Vet.

Zhou Shengjie / SHINE

A poster, a staff work schedule and a QR code to enter the animal shelter are posted outside the property.

Zhai, 48, has over 20 years of experience in the pet industry. When sub-district staff approached him to discuss starting the pet shelter last week, he immediately agreed, largely due to his great love for small animals.

As one of the areas most affected by the pandemic in Huangpu district, it was decided in early May that close contacts in Laoximen sub-district should also be transferred to dedicated isolation facilities to eradicate the disease. transmission of the virus.

However, how to care for their pets became a problem for many residents who needed to be transferred. In fact, some would cite this as an excuse for not complying with the transfer.

“Many of those who were to be transferred called me in tears,” Zhai said, adding that he could clearly sense that many of them treated their pets almost like their own children, and were understandably worried.

The shelter cares for pets while their owners are locked in isolation facilities

Zhou Shengjie / SHINE

A volunteer helps Zhai Jiang put on his protective suit.

Timi, a 5-year-old Labrador who lived with his owner on Menghua Street, was the first “guest” when the pet shelter opened.

Previously, the dog had been treated for more than three days by the residents’ committee after its owner was transferred to a makeshift hospital as a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Timi was sent by staff from Laoximen sub-district after the shelter opened.

Zhai said all pets are delivered to the shelter by a special car from the subdistrict. After the owner returns home, the pets are also returned in a vehicle organized by the sub-district.

“You’re not going to see Timi,” Zhai said. “After his owner recovered, he was picked up and brought home on May 8. He is the first pup to leave our shelter.”

The services offered at the shelter are free. It has two bedrooms, can house up to 40 dogs and 10 cats, and at the time of the interview there were five cats and two dogs in residence.

“I bought items such as cat food, dog food, and cages,” Zhai said. “Five pet hospital volunteers help me take care of the animals.”

Zhai has set up a tent next to the shelter, and since it opened, he and a volunteer have been sleeping there to watch over and support the animals.

They disinfect the shelter every day, feed the animals and do the cleaning. They also enter each pet’s health status and owner information into a computer.

The shelter cares for pets while their owners are locked in isolation facilities

Zhou Shengjie / SHINE

A tent set up next to the shelter allows Zhai and the volunteers to monitor the animals’ health status.

The animal shelter is equipped with a video camera so owners can see their animals in real time. Zhai also takes videos or photos of pets to share with owners via WeChat.

“We let them see their pets at all times for reassurance and faster recovery,” he said.

A puppy named “Gou Gou”, sent to the shelter on May 9, can’t stop barking.

Zhai said that when pets have an intense stress reaction, staff immediately discuss possible solutions with the owner. They seek information about its temperament and adjust their diet accordingly.

The shelter cares for pets while their owners are locked in isolation facilities

Zhou Shengjie / SHINE

A puppy named “Gou Gou” had an intense stress reaction and kept barking in the shelter.

Due to the current limited conditions, the shelter can only accept pets from families with sitters quarantined in Laoximen. Interested residents can get more information from their own neighborhood committee.

Zhai hopes more shelters can be established in the city to provide animals with a temporary home at this particular time.

About Michael B. Billingsley

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