SAN ANTONIO – Bentley and Jase have the sad distinction of being the first two dogs brought to San Antonio Pets Alive! because their owner had died from COVID-19 complications.
However, the dogs “have not been in contact with their late COVID-19 positive owner since the beginning of July,” SAPA veterinarians Dr. Alexis Bardzinski and Dr. Caroline Baer said in a joint statement.
They said the assessment done Bentley and Jase once the two arrived at the shelter showed the dogs were healthy.
Now, after a two-week quarantine, "both dogs are completely safe to adopt out. They just need a lot of love now," said SAPA spokeswoman Olivia Schneider.
She said although they were together before their owner was hospitalized, Bentley and Jase, both senior dogs, can go to separate homes.
"Bentley is heartworm positive, so he will need special treatment," Schneider said.
She said donations are welcome to help cover those costs.
Schneider said Jase doesn’t have heartworms, but both pets will each be altered and microchipped before being adopted. She said an application to adopt the dogs is on the SAPA website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said based on its available data, the risk of pets spreading the virus is low.
SAPA veterinarians said they've deemed Bentley and Jase COVID-free.
Schneider said their tragic loss should be a reminder to other pet owners.
"Make an emergency plan," Schneider said, regarding who will take care of your pets if you were to fall ill.
However, Animal Care Services cautions that it would be best to check with its agency.
Shannon Sims, ACS assistant director, said his agency had handled at least a handful of COVID-related cases that involved its officers donning special protective gear when entering a COVID-positive home to pick up a pet.
Those situations, he said, are treated with the utmost of caution.
"We really kind of go above and beyond to make sure we don't expose our staff," Sims said.
Although the risk of getting the virus from the pets they're asked to retrieve is low, Sims said they're kept in isolation for two weeks.
Some have been returned to their owners after they've recovered, Sims said. If not, they're put up for adoption.
Both ACS and SAPA said they’re prepared to take in more pets, like Bentley and Jase, as the pandemic continues.