Amid Moscow lockdown, some dogs find new homes and friends

Full Screen
1 / 12

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

In this photo taken on Monday, April 27, 2020, volunteer Nadezhda Minyaeva, wearing a face mask and gloves to protect from coronavirus, walks with Russian pensioner Margarita Donchenko's dog in a courtyard outside of the apartment building in Moscow, Russia. Donchenko knows how much attention a dog needs and she is glad that when she can't give her fluffy little black-and-white pooch what she needs, there's volunteer Nadezhda Minyaeva to show up once a day for a walk. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW – Stuck at home during Moscow's coronavirus lockdown, Alexandra Novatova opted to use a delivery service — a big decision, because she was ordering more than a pizza or a shipment of toilet paper.

She got a dog brought to her door.

She chose the mutt, a shepherd mix with a scythe-like curved tail, from a 12-hour online broadcast. Animal shelter volunteers showed dogs and cats to try to match them with humans.

The lockdown, which will extend at least through May 12, has been hard on dogs in some ways — their daily walks are supposed to go no farther than 100 meters from home, and owners 65 years and older are told to stay indoors except for buying groceries and medication. But it also has some bright spots.

People in isolation, looking for animal companionship, are adopting dogs. And many dogs are making new friends, as volunteers walk the pets of elderly people.

“People are spending a lot of time at home during the pandemic. I realized that people now have more free time, they can adopt pets without taking a vacation or arranging extra days off," said Anastasia Medvedeva, one of the organizers of the online adoption initiative “Happiness Delivered At Home.”

"Because when you adopt a pet, you need a certain amount of time for it to become accustomed to its new environment. Now it’s a perfect time to adopt a cat or a dog," she said.

Medvedeva said her project tries to ensure that the animals aren't adopted just as a temporary salve to the tedium and loneliness of lockdown.