17 Pets Who Found Their Forever Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Nearly one year after COVID-19 became a global pandemic, Americans revealed how adopting dogs, cats and other animals made a positive difference at home.

By Mike Vulpo Mar 12, 2021 8:00 AMTags
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Never underestimate the power of a four-legged friend.

When many Americans found themselves working from home and canceling any and all vacation plans at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, a trend began to appear: More and more people were wanting to expand their family with a pet.

According to NBC News, shelters and animal advocacy organizations with facilities throughout the country were "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of community support that got animals out of shelters and into loving homes.

Now, as the World Health Organization marks one year since declaring coronavirus a global pandemic, many of those pet owners are quick to share stories on how their cats, dogs and even horses made a positive impact on their life.

"Adopting a dog in a year full of unexpected changes was one of the best decisions my family and I ever made," Ohio resident Kelson Henwood told E! News. "Our family has always adopted pets but to me, this one has felt extra special." 

Couples Married During COVID-19

Even stars like Mark Hamill joined in on the trend by rescuing a new friend. "Say hello to the latest addition to the family," he wrote on Twitter.  She's the tiny (but fierce) ball of fur we call Molly Mae Hamill. With a very special thanks to #TobiesSmallDogRescue." 

Keep scrolling to hear from more Americans who got tails wagging and cats purring with their love and commitment. And remember: It's never too late to rescue or foster a pet in need.

Melissa Caskey

+ Long Beach, Calif.

"I adopted Captain the pit-bully from Angel City Pit Bulls last June and truly cannot remember how I got through life, and quarantine, without him. He comforts me when I am at my lowest, and brings me indescribable joy every moment of the day—even while he's slobbering all over my clothes."

Reana Hundtoft

+ Fort Worth, Texas

"When the pandemic hit, my husband and I had just moved to a new state where we knew no one. To say we were sad and lonely was an understatement. Adopting Roary was like finding a new best friend to spend all of your time with. She's brought so much joy into our lives and we've have a blast going on hikes and exploring the outdoors of our new city with her—safely of course!"

Rescued through North Richland Hills Animal Adoption & Rescue Center

Holly Passalaqua

+ Los Angeles, Calif.

"Poppy is just the best! She's changed our life for the better," the E! staffer shared. "It's true when people say their dogs are like their children. She brings us so much joy, happiness, love, laughs and snuggles! I can't remember what our life was like before her and I can't imagine our life without her. We are so lucky!"

Adopted through Hollywood Huskies

Lindsay Kaa

+ Los Angeles, Calif.

"My husband Michael and I had been wanting to welcome a pet into our home, but the timing was never right to give a dog the time they would need to acclimate to new surroundings. Once COVID hit and we realized I would be working from home for awhile, we started looking. I spotted Lucy, who we think is part lab, part dachshund and it was love at first sight. I was shocked when we were selected to meet her and the rest as they say is history. I've loved having a new work from home co-worker. She's employee of the month...every month and she makes sure we all get outside and do something active everyday. The silver lining of this year has definitely been Lucy and the joy and love her funny puppy personality brings to our home." 

Rescued through the Labelle Foundation

Lisha Marshall

+ Dallas, Texas

"My husband and I just moved into a new home and about a week later, our next door neighbor shared a photo of a dog that needed to be rescued. We knew she would be the perfect addition to our family, as we already have one Yorkie-mix that I had adopted about five years prior. Giving Stella a forever home has been the least I could do for her! Stella and Winston became quick friends, and they both provide us so much love, companionship and entertainment!"

Rescued through White Rock Dog Rescue

Martha Templeton McMurry

+ Kent County, Mich.

"After my husband and I lost our last dog several years ago, we said no more. We are retired and had started to really travel. As a matter of fact, our 20th wedding anniversary was this past September and we had the most romantic trip planned in Paris. Obviously, that didn't happen. After months of not being able to see our grown children and grandchildren, I kind of hit the wall. A friend of mine sent me a picture of Charlie and said he was going to go to a shelter if they couldn't find a home for him. The minute I saw his face, I was in love. It took a little while, but I was able to convince my husband to make an hour drive to go meet Charlie. He had us at hello! It was love at first sight for all of us. We really didn't know just how much we needed him and him us. We are still trying to figure out who rescued who."

Kelly Steen

+ Anne Arundel County, Md.

"Skipper has become my best friend over quarantine! He had a very rough start to life, but I'm not sure who saved who during this pandemic. He loves neighborhood walks, cuddles and can't wait to swim in the Chesapeake Bay!"

Rescued through SPCA of Anne Arundel County

Sarah Torres

 + Orange County, Calif.

"We are dog lovers who have two labs and wanted to add a puppy to our family. The entire process through the pandemic gave us something to look forward to. We did the planning and research and ended up choosing a puppy from Sunnyside Goldens in Utah...We have fallen in love with this sweet little guy. Brixton fits right into our family and now the pandemic seems so secondary. Even though raising a puppy can be very tiring at times, Brixton has brought us so much joy and given us a new purpose." 

Nikki Drost

+ Las Vegas, Nev.

"By adopting these dogs, I was finally able to find peace through the chaos of COVID-19. I was living alone during most of quarantine and lacking any social interaction with my friends and family made it very lonely and depressing. My first instinct was to adopt a dog, especially since I had all the time in the world to love and care for one...When things were starting to open back up again, I knew I was going to have to start working again and being away from home for hours each day, so I wanted to adopt another dog to give Coco a friend while I was gone. Six months later, I found Cooper! They have been inseparable ever since and I'm so glad they have each other. Adopting dogs during COVID was the best decision I could have ever made."

Rescued through Z's Promise Animal Rescue

Ashley Shively

+ Lincoln, Calif.

"Uno and Jag have given me a reason to spend more time outdoors and maintain a routine that is mentally necessary during the pandemic. These two are like really big dogs who seek out human affection and love snacks. Their silly antics have brought a lot of laughs and joy to our home."

Anna Hare

+ Colorado

"We believe it is important to adopt/rescue because there are so many great animals sitting in shelters. They don't know what it is like to live a wonderful life full of toys, food and cuddles. We wanted to be able to provide another rescue pup with a wonderful life. We know from experience with our other rescue pup that it is a two-way street. We rescue them, but in our worst times, they really end up rescuing us."

Rescued through Mile High Canine Rescue

Kaitlyn Stober

+ King County, Wash.

"Ed popped up on my e-mail for pets up for adoption in our area at the beginning of March 2020 and we literally got one look at his face and we immediate knew this dog needed to be part of our little crew. He is the snuggliest, loudest, happiest boy and watching him thrive and lose weight and play with our other pups during quarantine was one thing we looked forward to every day. Being stuck at home, taking the boys for a walk literally was the only time I was leaving the house and the absolute highlight of the day to take him to the field and watch him sniff and run around. He 10,000 percent has completed our little family and I truly can't imagine our life without him and his slobbery kisses."

+Rescued through Petfinder

Kristin Larsen

+ Omaha, Neb.

"Penny has been the reason I smiled every day during quarantine. She is always happy and has been my shadow around the house so I'm never alone."

Rescued through Town and Country Humane Society

Kelson Henwood

+ Fairfield County, Ohio

"Adopting a dog in a year full of unexpected changes was the one of the best decisions my family and I ever made. Our dog, Mocha has brought so much joy and love into our lives since adopting her in April 2020! Not only has she helped our mental health by being a great companion when we couldn't see our friends and be together. She also helped our physical health by being our walking partner. Our family has always adopted pets but to me, this one has felt extra special." 

Rescued through Fairfield Area Humane Society

Caitrin Ciaramella

+ Rochester Hills, Mich.

"While living in San Antonio, my brother was running on a trail with his German shepherd. While running, a stray puppy ran out at them and followed closely behind for the duration of the run. Eventually, he scooped her up and brought her to the vet. He got her vaccinated, posted lost dogs signs in the area and named her Maxi. No one claimed her so he decided to keep her. He had to leave for a four-month training at Quantico for law enforcement soon after. I volunteered to watch his dogs. When Maxi met my dog Moes, it was an instant connection. They are the definition of soul sisters and best pals. It turns out they are also the same age and grew to weigh the exact same. My brother knew he couldn't take Maxi away from Moes so we decided to keep them together here in Michigan. It was fate!" 

Heidi Girolamo

+ Laguna Niguel, Calif. 

"I rescued him as a foster, which of course we had to adopt! We had to sign waivers for aggression, but he is the sweetest! He just needed love and trust and some training. He is our everything!"

Rescued through Orange County Animal Care

Valerie Sun

+ Inglewood, Calif. 

"I adopted Bijou from my best friend's home she had been at for six years in April 2020. I live by myself and had gotten really lonely. She was supposed to be a temporary foster, but I fell in love. Bijou is an anxious kitty and her first home had doggies she was really scared of so she mostly lived in the garage. Now at my house, she roams all over, gets peace and quiet and the love and pets from me. Also, since her first owner was my best friend, she still gets visits from her first family!" 

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