At this point in our world, I’m not even sure what to write.

I think it’s safe to say we are all somewhat afraid, worried and not at all sure how to navigate. One minute I’m staying positive, then the next I am in a full-blown panic. I am struggling for balance.

This crisis will challenge us like no other in our lifetime and change how we live our lives, view the world and each other in many fundamental ways. At the Animal Protection League, the staff and volunteers are still coming to the shelter to care for the animals. Animals continue to come to us as strays and as owner releases. The City of Anderson animal control is continuing to work as well. The shelter is closed to the public until further notice.

We are facing many challenges. Employees are getting sick with normal things — allergies, sinus infections, etc. It throws us into a panic wondering if they have the virus, and I tell them they cannot work until symptom-free, which, of course, makes us even more short staffed than we normally are. It makes me realize how many of us work sick and see this as normal and don’t think too much about it overall. This is especially true if you do not get paid when you are sick.

I look at my staff and volunteers who continue to come to APL even though they may be afraid and realize how blessed we are to have such dedication and passion. Shelters across the country are facing the crisis of how best to care for their animals in this hard time. We are all trying to figure out how to do adoptions/fosters and yet still be safe.

Off-site adoptions are continuing with our adoption partners for the time being. As this continues, we can’t help but panic a bit at what may be coming — increased intake and decreased adoptions and animals sent to rescue. Increased intake means more food, vaccinations, medications, etc., which drives up our costs and it also means a drastic reduction in financial donations/supplies until this is over and the economy recovers. We are going to have to be very creative and innovative in the coming months.

We are trying to take this one day at a time; no matter what happens the animals will need our care and attention. If you are able to foster/adopt a cat or dog that would help us greatly. Go to inapl.org to fill out an application. If you have gone through our volunteer orientation and would like to help, that would be great. We, of course, ask that you do not come sick and follow all our sanitizing protocols.

Take comfort in your friends, family and pets, and please do not bring your pets to the shelters because you are afraid they can spread the virus. All studies to date say they cannot; so please keep them with you. I know my pets are helping me stay grounded during this difficult time. In the coming weeks and months, I wish you all … enough. Be safe my friends.

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 765-356-0900 or at maleahstringer@aol.com.

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