A San Jose couple started rescuing dogs during the pandemic. Now, NBC Bay Area reports that they’ve turned their quarantine hobby into a full-time gig.
Like most of us, Daniel and Rachel Martinez were sideswiped by the pandemic. Amidst lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, both Daniel and Rachel found themselves without work but with abundant free time. Thankfully, this situation allowed them to keep helping dogs in their neighborhood, something the couple had begun pre-COVID.
Leaning Into Rescuing San Jose Dogs and Helping Their Parents
“It quickly became obvious to us when the pandemic settled in…that we weren’t going to be working so we figured we could just focus all of our efforts on the dog rescue stuff,” said Daniel. For years, the pair had been finding small ways to help out the dogs in their neighborhood. Nearby, they brought food and water to a group of dogs living within a homeless encampment. In another example, the Martinezes built a doghouse for a dog living outdoors.
However, the abrupt global pause opened new opportunities for Daniel and Rachel. Eventually, they formalized their project into a nonprofit: Adopt My Block. In turn, this allowed the couple to help more dogs, as well as dog parents in need. Amazingly, Adopt My Block has been able to offer dog food and supplies to parents in need and assist with transportation and payment for spay/neuter services. Additionally, Daniel and Rachel have begun creating a network of foster parents, to help keep unwanted pets out of the shelter system.
“Pandemic Puppy Boom” Has Exacerbated the Crisis
Unfortunately, as quarantine becomes a memory, the couple says their work has been cut out for them. “Right now it is currently a shelter crisis so there is a population explosion and people are surrendering and re-homing their dogs at an alarming rate now,” said Rachel.
Although dog adoption rates soared during COVID, as people return to work they’re finding out they can’t give their new dogs the love and attention they deserve. Alarmingly, this has strained an already-overwhelmed shelter system, forcing some shelters to unwillingly euthanize incoming dogs. As such, programs like Adopt My Block are essential resources for dog parents who are struggling. Ultimately, mutual aid work like this is keeping dogs off the streets and in people’s homes.