Best Friends During Our Worst Times: Consider Fostering a Shelter Pet During the Coronavirus Crisis, Says American Humane … for Their Sake—and Yours
By MARK STUBIS,
WASHINGTON (March 17, 2020)—For thousands of years, our companion animals have been our best friends in good times and bad. Now, as we face one of the worst pandemics in modern history, accompanied by the fear and loneliness that come hand in hand with the isolation of mandatory quarantining, we have a chance to make a difference in the lives of millions of animals—and our own—by fostering a shelter animal.
“Shelters are swamped in the best of times, and with more and more staff in every sector of American life self-quarantining and falling ill, animals already abandoned and without homes are going to be increasingly vulnerable,” says American Humane President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert. “At the same time, so many of us, especially the elderly, are coping with the loneliness, stress and anxiety that comes with isolation and the sheltering in place so necessary during a pandemic. Why be home alone when you can snuggle up with a loving new buddy? You might save a life, improve your own during these trying times, and end up with a new best friend.”
Each year, some 4–6 million beautiful animals end up in U.S. shelters and more than one and a half million are euthanized. As shelter workers are affected by the virus and false rumors spread about the transmissibility of CV-19 from animals to people (there is no evidence of this), shelter animals will need help more than ever.
The rewards of fostering a pet can be great for both people and animals. Animals facing uncertain futures can find the love, care and attention every living creature needs. And engaging with animals has been shown to be a remedy for stress. When people are in high-pressure situations, the hormone cortisol spikes in the body, making it a useful tool for measuring stress. Interaction with animals is proven to lower both cortisol levels and blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health. In other words, science backs up what many people know intuitively—they feel better after petting a dog or cat.
Amber Batteiger is a case in point. An American Humane Rescue worker who deploys year-round to save animals from natural disasters and cruelty cases, she is now enjoying the company of her new foster dog and “pandemic pal,” Tux, a two-year-old American Bulldog mix she fostered for a rescue group out of Coral Springs, Florida called “Bullies-N-Beyond.” She finds his company a welcome distraction from the news and he is enjoying all the extra attention, treats and playing with his three foster siblings that living with Amber gives him.
“If you have the time, the desire and the physical and financial ability to foster an animal from a local shelter or rescue for at least the next several weeks, it will be a much-needed and welcome way to help,” says Dr. Ganzert. “Please think about it and spread the word. You will be helping yourself and an animal in need…and best of all, only their unconditional love is contagious.”
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization. Founded in 1877, American Humane saves, shelters, feeds, and protects some one billion animals around the world each year. Visit www.americanhumane.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter.
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Online Library & Drive-up WiFi Available 24/7 During Health Emergency
By NICHOLAS A. BROWN
Largo, Md. (March 18, 2020)—The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) is providing access to free resources and services online 24/7 throughout the COVID-19 health emergency and while the Library’s branches are closed until further notice. Customers can access online library content with their library cards via pgcmls.info. The Library’s wide range of online resources and apps include curated content collections, such as PGCMLS Digital Suite and PGCMLS Creative Suite, and over 85 online resources for all ages. Special content is available for kids, teens, and educators. The resources cover 12 different categories, including languages (Mango Languages), academics (The Great Courses), jobs and careers (Career Transitions), and academics (Brainfuse HelpNow tutoring). The Library also offers accredited online high school education for adults (Career Online High School).
Though Library branches are closed, drive-up public WiFi is accessible from all PGCMLS parking lots and the exterior of permanent and temporary PGCMLS facilities (except for pop-up locations and branches that are under construction: Surratts-Clinton and Hyattsville). Drive up to your local branch to check email, download eBooks or audiobooks, use online resources, or access community resources online.
Customers are encouraged to track their reading during the Library’s closure with the “Spring Into Reading” program, available through Beanstack (March 16–May 17, 2020). Readers can log daily accomplishments and unlock badges as they progress. Families with children under the age of five can also register for the Books from Birth program, a partnership between PGCMLS and the Dolly Parton Foundation that sends children a free book once a month by mail. Register here.
During the public health emergency, PGCMLS is maintaining a COVID-19 webpage that shares current County Health Department guidance and highlights special temporary resources for all ages and businesses from cultural organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, healthcare providers, and utilities. Explore the list of temporary resources (Español), which is being regularly updated. The Library is also promoting a virtual events for all ages throughout the closure, including children's programs and health information events. Visit the PGCMLS Facebook page for details.
Spanish speaking customers are invited to explore the Library’s “Su biblioteca” portal, which features numerous community resources and information about the online library. The Library also has a new Spanish Facebook page where customers can connect with staff and resources. Publicamos una página de Facebook en español! Síguenos aquí.
What to do with physical materials during the closure:
• Hold onto books, DVDs, and other materials until PGCMLS reopens
• Fines incurred during the closure will be waived
• Book drops are closed
• Please do not leave materials outside at libraries
Featured Online Resources:
PGCMLS Digital Suite
• ComicPlus (digital graphic novels and comics)
• Freegal (streaming and downloadable music)
• Hoopla (streaming movies, tv programs, and music)
• Kanopy (streaming movies, documentaries, and tv programs)
• Libby by OverDrive (audiobooks and eBooks)
• RBdigital (magazines, audiobooks, and streaming video)
PGCMLS Creative Suite
• Artist Works (online music lessons)
• Creative Bug (arts and craft activities and classes)
• The Great Courses (online courses, including creative disciplines)
• Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center (hobby and craft resources)
• PebbleGo (research skills for K-3 students)
• Qello (concerts and music documentaries, ranging from classical to country)
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BGE Donates to Local Nonprofits for Coronavirus Response and Relief
$175,000 to Maryland organizations is part of more than $1 million donation by Exelon companies nationwide to help communities during pandemic response
By TASHA JAMERSON
BALTIMORE, Md. (March 18, 2020)—Today, BGE is joining with Exelon and Constellation to donate $175,000 to Maryland relief organizations including the United Way of Central Maryland, the Maryland Food Bank, and the Baltimore Community Foundation to support their efforts to provide essential services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is part of a more than $1.15 million donation by Exelon Corporation and its family of companies nationwide to relief organizations to support communities impacted by the spread of the coronavirus.
“BGE is committed to helping our community during this challenging time,” said Carim Khouzami, BGE CEO. “These donations and our continued partnerships with the United Way, the Maryland Food Bank, and the Baltimore Community Foundation are essential in efforts to help our customers address their needs during the COVID-19 health crisis. Getting through this requires everyone to lean in and do their part to lift up our community and help protect its most vulnerable members. We are grateful to support such worthwhile relief organizations making a difference in central Maryland’s pandemic response.”
Nonprofits are experiencing a disruption in fundraising and decreased volunteer support due to the recently announced safety protocols, and it is critical that these organizations, serving the most vulnerable populations, have the resources needed to continue operating at the highest levels.
The donation to the United Way of Central Maryland’s COVID-19 Community Fund will support the United Way of Central Maryland 211 Call Center. The 211 Call Center has seen volume more than quadruple since Monday with over 1,500 calls requesting information about food, COVID-19, and counseling and calming.
BGE’s donation to the Maryland Food Bank will provide necessary additional funds to help purchase and safely distribute nutritious food to hungry Marylanders while our community continues to deal with COVID-19.
The donation to the Baltimore Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund will aid in rapid response actions during the public health emergency our region is currently facing. One hundred percent of these funds will go directly to address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our region’s communities, workforce, and vulnerable populations.
To assist families and businesses experiencing financial stress during this public health crisis, BGE and all Exelon utilities—Atlantic City Electric, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO, and Pepco—have suspended service disconnections and are waiving new late payment charges until at least May 1.
As a provider of the critical infrastructure that powers hospitals and health care facilities, federal, state and local response centers, and the millions of homes and businesses where people live and work, BGE recognizes its foundational role in crisis response plans for the communities it serves. The company has robust plans and contingencies to ensure business and operational continuity across a wide range of potentially disruptive events, including extensive preparedness for a major public health crisis. BGE, along with Exelon and its sister utility companies are also working in close coordination with designated state and local emergency preparedness and health officials, and at the federal level through the Electric Subsector Coordinating Council.
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