Israeli kennel offers video chat for pets, potential owners to facilitate adoption during corona crisis

Immediate benefits include companionship, stress relief, and the ability to go outside to walk the dog.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

As Israelis have been ordered to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic except to buy necessities or go to work, pet adoptions have plummeted. One Israeli city decided to do something about it, Yediot Ahronot reported on Tuesday.

Potential cat and dog owners can go to website ‘Yad 4’ and look through a “catalogue” of animals. If one tickles their fancy, the Rishon L’Tzion municipal kennel will arrange a video chat with said animal.

“Just like with grandma and grandpa,” said city veterinarian Dr. Tomer Nissimian.

Although there is nothing like holding a dog or cat to feel if there’s a “click” between human and animal, this technology is the next best thing to being there, the kennel says.

If there is love at first sight, the veterinary service will do everything needed to help the adoption go through – including using a courier service to bring the family pet to its new home.

The adoption initiative is needed now more than ever, as animal rights organizations are reporting that people are  abandoning their cats and dogs during the pandemic. Municipal kennels are being inundated with new arrivals, and they just don’t have the room for them all.

The good deed of adopting a pet can also bring with it several important benefits to their benefactors, Nissimian said.

“Studies done all over the world show that the presence of dogs and cats in a house reduces the psychological stress of those who live there, especially children,” he noted.

“In addition, according to current regulations, dog owners are allowed to go outside and have a good time with them out of the house, while keeping to the Health Ministry guidelines. This, too, reduces stress,” he said.

The veterinary service emphasized that as far as the World Health Organization knows, animals do not transmit the coronavirus.