Amid the Pandemic, An Uptick in Pet Adoptions

We're staying home. We have love to give. And Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is busy playing matchmaker.

Millie, adopted by Ronda McLean and family. Photo courtesy of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.

Covid-19, for all of its stressors, has yielded a few positive developments—such as homebound families turning out in droves to adopt new pets who might otherwise be euthanized. Arlington-based Lucky Dog Animal Rescue has seen its monthly intake of animals more than double, and since March 16 has rescued and placed more than 1,600 dogs and cats in forever homes.

Adoption applications are submitted online, adopters are vetted virtually, and the nonprofit has a system for handing off pets to their new owners without any physical contact between humans. Recently it’s begun hosting a few socially distanced, outdoor adoption events (for those who’ve completed applications) with limited capacity and strict safety protocols.


Maize, adopted by Maya Crawford and family. Photo courtesy of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.

“Most of the pets we rescue are owner-surrendered or strays,” says Lucky Dog spokesperson Emily Jagdmann. “We do know that a lot of animals are being surrendered due to economic hardship, for instance if
their owners lose their jobs.”


Ella Shamas with her new pup, Yeti. Photo courtesy of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.

Founded by Mirah Horowitz—a onetime U.S. Supreme Court law clerk for Justice Stephen Breyer—Lucky Dog has saved more than 17,500 abandoned or neglected pets since its inception in 2009.


Lucky Dog director of operations Colleen Bernhard with Steffi the cat, who was later adopted. Photo courtesy of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.

The group rescues animals from high-kill shelters in the rural South and transports them to the D.C. area for adoption, relying on an army of more than 1,500 active volunteers who foster pets in their homes, drive transport vehicles and manage administrative projects.

Need a furry friend to keep you company? For more information on pet adoptions, visit

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Categories: Community