How COVID-19 is affecting animal shelters across the nation

There is no question that COVID-19 is changing the world. COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives. While a majority of the population is in quarantine, and sheltering in place, many people have found themselves bored and lonely. One change that was not anticipated is the change in animal adoption rates. While people are stuck at home, many people are adopting and fostering shelter dogs and cats to keep them company. 

As coronavirus spreads across the U.S., an increasing number of people have stepped up to foster and adopt animals, keeping them out of shelters. 

According to NBC News, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has seen a 70 percent increase in animals entering foster care in New York City and Los Angeles programs compared to this time last year. Adoption centers like the Riverside County Animal Shelter have a beautiful problem according to Wired; they are all out of adoptable animals.

Well, why are people adopting animals now? 

The real reason is no mystery; as people are practicing social distancing, many have decided now is a perfect time to bring an animal into their home. As reported by Wired, some shelters have put out calls for people to adopt, but others have found that this surge is completely organic. An upwelling of kindness and care from the community plays a large part in helping these animals and shelters. People who didn’t have animals because of their work or travel schedule, or problems similar to these, now can adopt which is another cause for the surge. Many shelters have also waived adoption fees to try to ease financial strain on new pet parents affected by COVID-19. 

Wired further reports that animals can have an important role in brightening people’s lives, especially in a time like this. Although pets can’t completely fill the void left by isolation from other humans, they do provide emotional support. Pets fulfill the human need for touch and offer significant relief to people’s stress and anxiety levels. Pets can even lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels leaving you feeling better. Animals like dogs are also able to motivate people to stick to strategies to help with isolation, like daily exercise and structure. 

However, it is not all good news. There is an increase in the amount of people surrendering their animals because of financial struggles, or because they are too ill to take care of them.

If you are looking for ways to help your local animal shelter, adoption and donations (like food and other important materials) are great ways to help. 

‘Parks and Recreation’

Parks and Recreation is a 2009 comedy show about a woman named Leslie Knope working in the Parks & Recreation department of her local government in the city of Pawnee, Indiana. She believes strongly in government, unlike her boss, Ron Swanson, who believes all forms of government are a waste. The two main characters of the show are total opposites and are still friends, which leads to a lot of comedic interactions.

This show is made in a fake documentary style like The Office, so there are often random interviews with the characters so we get to see what they’re thinking. However, unlike The Office, the camera crew following them around is never addressed and never had any relevance on the plot; it’s just used to let the characters monologue.

One of the strongest points of Parks & Rec is the believability of the situation. There’s never anything supernatural going on; it always just remains funny with a few people working in local government. Not only that, but the plot progresses between each episode really smoothly, so you can see the cast always working towards a goal. However, each episode is also contained, so you can skip the episodes you don’t like on a second viewing and still understand what is going on. 

Another great thing about this show is the characters. Andy Dwyer, played by Chris Pratt, is an absolute treasure, and fills the role of the sweet man child that could not have been cast better. There’s also April Ludgate, who plays an apathetic intern whom Ron takes a liking to because they both hate their job. Ann Perkins is Leslie’s best friend, and they meet in the first episode during a public forum, which also kicks off the show‘s end goal: creating a park behind Ann’s house.

However, this show is not without its flaws. The only character that is really unique is Ron Swanson and maybe Andy, but Andy only works so well because he’s played by Chris Pratt. Also, this show can be a bit insensitive, specifically surrounding Native Americans. There is a gag in the show about the history of Pawnee settlers and Natives and how it was super bloody, and even though it’s played off in the show like it’s a bad thing, it still makes fun of it. Also, the only Native American in the show is a stereotypical casino owner. Parks & Rec isn’t racist or anything, but if you are sensitive about Native American history, then skip this show.

All in all, Parks & Rec is really good. The characters are really funny, you don’t really see repetition until the seventh, and last season (which you should skip), and the way the show develops is better than most television shows.

My final rating for this show is 9/10.

Desserts to make during the quarantine

By: La Dafia Dehaney

Looking for something to do or bake while under quarantine? Try these eight different desserts that will keep you busy and have you baking them over and over again.

  • Oreo Cake It’s a moist cake that is covered with Oreo whip cream frosting and is made up of chocolate layers with crushed Oreos in them.
  • Cheesecake is made of a mixture of Philadelphia Cream Cheese combined with eggs, flour, sugar, and water. The bottom layer of the cake is crushed crackers or cookies that you combine with butter and sugar. The toppings are usually strawberries or any type of berries. 
  • Trifle is an English dessert that came from England in the 18th century. This dessert is made with any type of fruit you want, and it has a layer of sponge fingers soaked in cherry.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies originated in the United States. This dessert will include a dough that is made with butter and both brown and white sugar. You top it off with your pick of chocolate chips.
  • Ice Cream Cake is filled with ice cream and layers of sponge cake or cookie crumble in between them.
  • Apple Pie is just filled with apples that you combine with brown sugar and cinnamon and toss it up. It also includes a crust that you can make with water, butter, flour, and sugar.
  • Cinnamon Rolls are made up of a dough that is rolled into small portions and in between are sugar and cinnamon. You then bake it and top it off with some cream cheese and powdered sugar mixed together. 
  • A Banana Split is an ice cream dessert, it usually has a sauce of chocolate, strawberry, or caramel that you drizzle over the ice cream. You finish up this dessert by topping it off with some whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top.