Psychologists will tell you there are three responses to stress: fight, flight, or freeze. The COVID-19 crisis has put us all into a stressful situation, and it is up to us to determine how we will react. For Animal Advocates, there really wasn’t a choice. We pivoted and are still moving forward!

At any one time, we have more than 50 pets rescued from Mexican Shelters, living with foster families, and hoping to be adopted into a forever home. Our weekly adoption events at Petco and PetSmart provided the opportunity for rescued pets and loving families to mix, mingle, and decide if they were a perfect match. When COVID put an end to these events, our rescued pets could have been stuck in a holding pattern for months or longer. Even worse, there are always more shelter pets to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome. So we can’t just freeze with the rescues we have.

Instead of fighting, running scared, or freezing, we chose a new path forward. We pivoted from large events to one-on-one, socially distanced, meet-n-greets between a family and the rescued pet they were interested in. By doing this, we were able to keep moving forward on our mission of saving every displaced pet that ends up in a Baja California shelter where overcrowding, and minimal funding, typically result in euthanasia (or horrifically, electrocution) after only three days from arrival.

The result of our pivot has been a resounding success. In 2020, we were able to rescue and rehome more dogs and cats than any year since our founding in 2006. We will continue this new approach of one-on-one adoption appointments even beyond the end of COVID-19.