MISSOULA - One organization in Missoula that normally encourages walk-ins to meet their animals, is now by appointment only to take social distancing precautions.
As more Montanans self quarantine at home during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, many are feeling stressed and anxious.
Humane Society of Western Montana Executive Director Marta Pierpoint said adopting or fostering a pet can help.
"Animals provide a lot of emotional comfort and support," Pierpoint said. "Right now that’s what people need, and the animals need it too."
In an effort to follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, she said the rules at the shelter for walk-ins have changed.
"We decided to go appointment based only, to limit human to human contact."
People who want to adopt or foster now have to fill out an adoption profile on their website. After filling the form out, the person needs to email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. A humane society employee will contact the individual to schedule an appointment.
Pierpoint said the shelter has seen an increase in adoptions and fosters.
"We have about 20 cats right now. We are a little bit low on dogs at the moment, we have maybe four or five."
They also have two bunnies and two nice up for adoption.
She added if a family cannot adopt, they can.
"We’re gonna have that need," Pierpoint said.
In addition to adoptions and fostering pets, HSWM said First Security Bank came up with the idea to do an online auction of goods from local businesses in Missoula. HSWM spent $2,000 at local shops in town, with the auction starting on Thursday for bidding.
You can register to bid by visiting bidpal.net/ks2020 and clicking "sign in" in the top right corner, or by texting "ks2020" to 243-725.
Our auction will include items purchased/donated from all of these local businesses: Imagine Nation Brewing, MacKenzie River, Mustard Seed, Zoo Thai, The Dram Shop, Jakers Bar and Grill-Missoula, Montana Grrl Critter Gear, Black Cat Bake Shop, The Camino, Cambie Taphouse + Coffee, Five on Black, Taco Del Sol, Jessica Walrath Agency, Summit Beverage, Freestone Climbing Center, Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply, PetSmart, PetCo, Tagliare Delicatessen, Betty's Divine, Bernice's Bakery and more!