San Antonio pet parents find support and advice online during pandemic

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio pet parents are finding camaraderie and support in a social media community group during the pandemic.

San Antonio Animal Care Services says membership on the Pet Parents of SATX Facebook page has doubled during the pandemic.

To keep pets in homes, animal welfare groups help owners

Claudia Balarin, with ACS, said membership jumped from about 500 to 1,100 since the start of the year.

“Now, especially, people that are working from home, they’re able to spend time with their pet more,” she said. “So they’re able to share more pictures of them or see how to keep their pets entertained, activities to do with their pets. And they’re able to use that group as a resource for that.”

Carolina Ingram, a pet parent to a dog named Whiskey, is an active member of the page. She joined around March when she was looking for advice.

“Because of the quarantine, Whiskey gained a few pounds, and so I was started getting worried,” Ingram said.

She found the group to be very supportive and helpful. She likes the community because she knows other people out there love their pets as much as she does and can relate.

Balarin said the goal is to help build a local community of support to help new pet parents connect with seasoned pet parents. It’s also for people looking for tips, training advice, and pet sitting, and in the end, the pets win.

“It’s led by community members in sharing the conversations they want to talk about when it comes to their pets,” Balarin said.

The group os monitored by ACS to ensure that the conversation always stays focused on pets. Balarin says it also helps ACS workers stay connected to the pets that have been adopted if the families choose to communicate through that page.

“It’s really exciting to see the journey of someone adopting a pet here at the shelter and then going on the pet parent group and posting about it,” Balarin said.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.