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Why it's important to have a plan for your pets during the pandemic

San Antonio Pets Alive! has taken in two dogs whose owner has died of COVID-19.

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Pets Alive! is helping two furry family members move on after their owner died from the novel coronavirus, showing that it isn't just human relatives who are affected by loss during the pandemic. 

Jase, a terrier mix, and Bentley, a purebred boxer, are going through a crisis.

“Without their beloved owner, they were in need of a place to stay," said Olivia Schneider, SAPA! marketing and development director.

“They’ve gone through so much. It’s been a traumatic experience for these sweet animals to hope for their owner to come home that they love so much,” she said.

The shelter took the pair in after the death of their human. Schneider said the shelter, known for focusing its efforts on animals at risk for euthanasia, is hard at work staying prepared for these situations.

“We don’t only just pull animals that are at risk of euthanasia. We also do public intake,” Schneider said. “Jase and Bentley were two animals that were public intake animals; they didn’t come through the city shelter.”

She said that the best things pet owners can do for their animals is take care of themselves so they can be there to take care of their animals. But, should the worst happen, SAPA! is prepared to step in and help displaced animals.

“Especially in COVID-19, we’ve greatly shifted and adapted our operations,” Schneider said. “As always, we’re here to save lives in whatever way we possibly can.”

Schneider, meanwhile, is also encouraging people to have a plan in place for their pets should something happen to them during the pandemic.

“Make sure that, if you do fall ill, that someone can come and take care of your animals, and you do have almost a succession plan,” she said. “If you do pass away or you’re unable to take care of them, (make sure) that those animals have a safe place to go.”

Being together has been a comfort to Bentley and Jase, but Schneider says getting them into new homes is a top priority, even if that means they have to say goodbye.

"To be in a different place now, but still together, it would be really meaningful. But at the end of the day, we have to do what’s best for Bentley and Jase, and that’s getting them adopted.”

San Antonio Pets Alive! assessed the dogs' medical needs when they arrived and found that Bentley was positive for heartworm, which can lead to serious complications. Jase appears to be healthy.

Anyone hoping to help with the animals medical bills can visit www.sanantoniopetsalive.org/medical.

People looking to adopt an animal can click here to begin filling out an application.