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'I think she's going to be a good distraction' | St. Louisans help clear animal shelters amid COVID-19 concerns

One local shelter cleared out all of its animals, but others are still looking for help in caring for animals during coronavirus closures

ST. LOUIS — While humans around the St. Louis area are living isolated from each other, the animals who love us are enjoying an extra dose of cuddle time. That includes the pets who are only newly in a home at all.

“We've always wanted to foster dogs, but with working outside the home and school we just didn't ever think it was a good time, but this weird situation that we're in gave us the opportunity,” said Mindy Copp.

After a little convincing for her husband, she and her kids are happily fostering not one but nine dogs—Mary Jane and her eight puppies who are just 2 weeks old.


“This is the best thing that’s ever happened,” said Natalie Copp, one of Mindy’s three kids.

"Well, it's definitely taking the kids' minds off of being stuck at home,” said Mindy.

They answered the Animal Protective Association of Missouri's call to clear their shelters, fostering the beagle mix and her puppies until further notice. They closed last week but are still accepting donations online.

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CARE is still looking for homes—temporary and permanent—for their animals. Visit their website to learn more about their available pets and to donate.

Stephanie Fisher saw CARE STL’s post calling for homes and brought home a very good—very big—boy.

“This is Turkey,” she said of the Great Dane lab mix. “But if I foster fail him, his name will be Barnett.”

Her 2-year-old’s daycare is closed and her job as a hairstylist is tricky to do right now. But with all of this on her, she said she might as well have a dog-pile of responsibilities.

"I'm not used to sitting still. So, now that I have all this going on and I'm stuck at home because I'm not really sitting still,” she said.

The Humane Society of Missouri closed its shelters Monday afternoon — something hard to do, they said in a statement, because they still have animals in their care. For more information about their needs and how to support them, you can visit their website.

Brooke and Tyler VonJensen picked up their puppy, Pearl — soon to be Moira — moments before the shelters closed.

"We're very lucky to both have jobs that we're able to work from home and we had been debating for a long time about a puppy, and this seemed like a good time," said Brooke.

"I think she's going to be a good distraction,” said Tyler.

“And they also just provide a lot of comfort,” added Brooke. “I know I deal with anxiety and they help with that a ton, especially right now."

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