Last week, as James Madison University student Miranda Yokum shifted to online classes and learned to adapt to the coronavirus by staying sheltered inside her Harrisonburg apartment, she decided to help the area’s furry friends.

Yokum, 22, became a foster to 3-year-old Charlotte, a German shepherd-husky mix, through Anicira.

“It’s a hard time for everyone being quarantined,” Yokum said. “I wanted [Charlotte] to be out of the shelter for as long as possible.”

Dan Chavez, Anicira’s operations manager, said Yokum was one of many to step up in a time of need.

“We have had an outpouring of support from our foster community,” Chavez said. “It’s been really impressive. They’ve stepped up so much that we were able to empty our shelter.”

All 27 dogs that Anicira had are now in foster homes.

While all dogs are spoken for, Anicira is still accepting applications for fostering opportunities that might arise in the next few weeks. Foster orientation has moved online.

Although all adoption events have been canceled, Chavez said, the foster dogs are still up for adoption on Anicira’s website

He also said that because all the dogs are in foster homes, it might make it easier to get them adopted.

“It helps our adoption process, because they start showing their personalities and that shows up in photos,” he said.

Anicira’s veterinary office on Neff Avenue has made changes to its operation to deal with the virus. It now has curbside check-in for pets there for appointments.

Christy Tabor, foster coordinator and licensed veterinary technician for Cat’s Cradle, said adoptions have been down but foster requests are up.

“We’ve seen an influx of foster applications coming in, many from people working from home and students taking online courses,” Tabor said. “That’s been pretty cool to say.”

Cat’s Cradle also had to cancel events, including its regular appearances at PetSmart in Harrisonburg.

Tabor said orientation and training shifted to an online process about a year ago through its website.

She said there are about 60 cats in foster care, but there are still opportunities for residents to participate.

“It’s a good time to foster if you can,” Tabor said. “[Cats] would make really good quarantine buddies.”

The Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA is also changing the way it operates as a result of the coronavirus.

Those looking to adopt will now need to make an appointment.

The SPCA also had to cancel foster and volunteer orientations and fundraising events.

“We understand the scope of human need in times like this,” Huck Nawaz, the SPCA’s executive director, said in a statement. “We ask that you also keep in mind the needs of our four-legged community members. With the cancellation of our fundraising events, we are certainly in need of donations.”

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6267 or Follow Pete on Twitter @pdelea_DNR

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