UPDATE: The City of Ballarat says the Ballarat Animal Shelter will remain open as long as possible, despite all the coronavirus shutdowns.
In a statement sent to The Courier last night, the council describes the shelter as "a crucial resource" for the city.
"We are maintaining the operation in a restricted form at this point in time, with animal management officers still operating to address urgent matters, and the shelter managing the animals which are currently under our care," Director of Infrastructure and Environment Terry Demeo said.
"The City of Ballarat will be advocating strongly that the shelter is an essential service in the event that further controls are placed on public movement as part of the COVID-19 response."
Like many of us, I'm stuck at home doing my best to make the most of this crazy situation the world has somehow got itself into.
But for those of us without a partner, without housemates and personally myself with family interstate, this whole 'wait and see', living on your own thing can certainly have an effect on your personal mental health.
So instead of going round in circles, cleaning frantically, getting distracted by a lone ant - as I found myself doing for most of last week - I decided the time was right to bring someone new into my small little family of one.
So let me introduce you to Patsy, an almost two-year-old girl who I found at the Ballarat Animal Shelter on Friday.
As with most, Patsy was brought into the Ballarat Animal Shelter as a stray - a heavily pregnant stray as it turns out. She arrived in January and has since had her litter and was now looking for a forever home, which was where I came in.
I jumped onto the Ballarat Animal Shelter page and was met by nine pages of smiling, loveable faces just desperate for a home to keep someone company.
There was Gidget, there was Dash, there was Stanley who would simply leave me alone. I also had my eye on a two-year-old tabby who didn't seem all that keen to meet and then I met Patsy who was in the last cage with two others. As soon as she saw me she reached through the cage to hold my hand (see above).
I got her out for a cuddle and straight away knew she was the one for me.
Our furry friends, like little Patsy here, have no idea how many of us are feeling, her job is to provide love, cuddles and okay, maybe the occasional broken figurine...i'm still getting over that one.
The Ballarat Animal Shelter is still open six days a week and is helping people get through the hard times.
The shelter is taking through potential adopters one person or family at a time due to social distancing, which is giving a greater than ever chance of getting to pick out your perfect pet.
Myself, I spent just on an hour cuddling about 30-40 cats that were all looking for a home before I eventually made my decision.
I've been incredibly lucky to have found such an affectionate cat. Not only does she cuddle and purr incessantly, she eats like a trooper and has tried everything I've offered her in the culinary field, but also uses her litter tray without fuss.
She is desexed, wormed and is as healthy as you are ever going to find.
If you're lonely, if you're feeling like you need a friend right now, you can do a lot worse than making a booking at the Ballarat Animal Shelter. The virus may not last forever, but the love you get from a new pet just might.
To view the pets available, head to https://www.petrescue.com.au/groups/11504/Ballarat-Animal-Shelter?page=4#pet-listings
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