Over the past couple weeks our world has been turned upside down. The coronavirus has become a pandemic and led to countless illnesses and deaths. With it has come extreme measures by the government to stop the spread of this deadly virus.

Quarantines and “stay at home” orders are popping up everywhere. And people are moving to a life where they do their work from home. This creates loneliness, and a desire to spend that time with someone else. Many people have chosen to use their time to foster or adopt a dog with their newfound free time at home.

If you’re someone who has the itch for a new companion, here’s a few things you should consider.

Can I get or give the coronavirus to a dog?

For now, the experts are saying that you can’t. I’ve read stories about isolated people giving their dogs away or having them watched by a friend while they recover, but it sounds unnecessary. A couple stories out of China indicated a couple dogs tested positive, but the belief is that those were false-positives. There has been zero scientific evidence of dogs contracting or giving someone the virus.

Be in this for the long haul

If you plan to adopt, make sure you’re in this for the long haul. Be prepared to take care of a dog for the next 15 years of your life. This isn’t a toy you play with for a few weeks while you’re cooped up inside and then give away. It’s unfair to the dog. While many dogs need to be adopted, they need to be adopted by people who are committed to them.

If that’s not you and you’re just looking for some companionship for the next couple months, fostering is a real popular route. With people avoiding animal shelters, they are desperate to foster dogs out till they can be adopted. If you can provide them with months of care, you’d be doing a great service.

Research the dog

Many new dog owners make the mistake of choosing a breed not built for their lifestyle. You don’t want to force a large, active dog into your tiny studio apartment. Or choose a dog when you have little kids that you aren’t sure would be tolerant of them. Most adoption agencies provide great information on the dog, their temperament, and how they interact with children and other pets. Make sure the dog you adopt is going to the right home.

Be Prepared

A dog, especially a puppy, can be a lot of work. There is a lot to learn about how to care for them. You’ll need to know a bit about training and what their diet entails. Research the dangers (like chocolate) they may encounter. Find out what companies make the best dog gear. You can often look through product reviews on major online retailers or use sites like stopthatdog.com that cover these topics in great detail.

On top of just the research, there is the financial aspect. Taking care of dogs costs money. Food, toys, accessories, and the occasional vet bill. If you are looking at an uncertain economic future, it might be best to stick to fostering. One of the most heartbreaking things is seeing a dog abandoned when an owner realizes they can’t afford to care for them.

Why should you do this?

Dogs are incredible companions. And during a time of unimaginable stress and anxiety, having them by your side will be a great comfort. They uplift your spirits and may even improve your health. Going for a walk and getting some fresh air is great during these times.

Also because shelters are hurting. Many are closing up and dogs are meeting a terrible fate. It’s the unfortunate consequences of times like these. So if you have wanted a dog, feel you can take care of a dog, there may never be a better time to do it.