© Sonya KingSonya King just adopted a 10 year old Maltese cross Fred from Monika's Doggie Rescue.
Adopting a blind 10-year-old rescue dog called Fred a week ago has given marketing manager Sonya King love in a time of coronavirus.
Ms King took the Maltese cross home last Saturday, the first day that she settled in for what could be a long period of working from home.
Within days her isolation buddies, Fred and a mature "indoor bunny" named Bella, were cuddling on the couch while she watched TV.
"I am in love with him already," Ms King said of Fred.
Since the government began urging the public to work from home, organisations like the RSPCA and Monika's Doggie Rescue in Ingleside have been inundated with requests from people wanting to adopt or foster a companion animal.
© Rhett WymanThe coronavirus lockdown has increased demand to adopt and foster rescue animals.
Adoptions at the RSPCA increased by 40 per cent to 291 a week ago across NSW. Adoptions at Petbarn rose from 20 a week before coronavirus spread more widely to 87 a week.
Employees working from home have flooded social media with photos of cats and dogs, some of which have become accidental extras in work video conferences.
The RSPCA and Monika's are encouraging adoptions but, because of government restrictions, are only allowing the public to visit by appointment.
Monika's founder Monika Biernacki said, "A lot of people are thinking they need that comfort because we are in state of uncharted waters, and having a pet around gives you that ... a warm sense that you will survive through difficult times."
But she still wants people to take their time to get to know an animal and understand their needs before making a final decision. "I want to break the cycle where people adopt and return," she said.
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RSPCA NSW chief executive Steve Coleman said, as the pandemic escalated, it was asking for help to find "forever homes for the animals in our care".
"A a time when the community is being encouraged to stay at home, the presence of an animal companion can be priceless," he said. "A pet can be a much-needed comfort, a giver of furry hugs, a listening ear. They make excellent colleagues. They offer unconditional love ... when you may not be able to be in the presence of your loved ones."
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Chippendale resident Angus Macdonald adopted a ginger kitten, Valentino, from the RSPCA on Wednesday. "There were a lot of other cats there," he said. "Valentino was the last kitten. They'd just made him available when we walked in."
It was very busy and staff were cutting people off because "of the distancing stuff, but there was a line of people when we left".
"It's a game changer. It's already been a huge mental health boost," he said.
Ms King said Fred and Bella's company made her day happier.
"I can't control everything, but I can control something: I can make them happier," she said.
She also felt more useful adopting a dog like Fred whose blindness made him less attractive to other pet owners.