The coronavirus took their owners’ lives and now four much-loved dogs need a new home — hopefully one that will let them stay together.
"They are actually all sweet dogs, they are all loving dogs," Gary Rogers, president of the Nassau County SPCA, said by telephone. "They’re just emotionally traumatized right now."
The SPCA is seeking donations to help with the dogs' care, but also hopes to find a new owner for the quartet.
The nonprofit’s hunt for a new and loving home for the four-member pack reveals an often-overlooked impact of the pandemic, which has killed more than half a million people in the United States.
"This is a fact of COVID that people don’t really see," said Rogers. "We hear about people dying and leaving their pets behind … For some families, their pets are their only family."
Until a few weeks ago, the two black labs — Oliver, 5, and Isabelle, 4 — a possible chihuahua mix named Izzy, 6, and a brown and white boxer, Winston, 5, lived with a father and daughter in Plainview, according to the SPCA.
After his daughter was hospitalized with COVID-19, the father, who also was battling the coronavirus, called the rescue group’s 24-hour hotline for help.
"Normal day-to-day care of the dogs became impossible for him," the SPCA said in a statement.
"The father was really concerned. Everything the woman was living for were her dogs," Rogers said.
So the SPCA took the dogs in, promising to return them as soon as the daughter recovered.
Instead, the father then was hospitalized. He did not survive his battle with COVID-19. Nor did his daughter, who died a short time later, the SPCA said.
Photographs of the dogs show them resting comfortably together. Three look trustingly into the camera while the fourth, Oliver, looks off to the side.
"They’ve lost everything," the SPCA said in a news release. "It breaks our hearts when we look into their little faces and they are asking when they could go home, but we are determined to keep those tails wagging."
Donations can be made through the SPCA's website: https://nassaucountyspca.org/. Rogers noted the SPCA also takes in pets from individuals fleeing domestic violence.
The SPCA's 24-hour hotline can be reached at 516-843-7722. Though the hotline had been funded by a $20,000 PetSmart grant that now has run out, Rogers said the group is keeping it open.
"We want to make sure if anybody else has these issues, they just call us, so we can do what we have to do," he said.