The Hustle

Long-distance relationships only work if they’re with a dog

Who’s a good virtual dog?

June 19, 2020

Tired: Fostering a dog in quarantine.

Wired: Adopting a virtual dog in quarantine.

In India, a veritable kennel of pet owners unleashed their dogs into the streets back in March. The fear? Pets could spread COVID-19 (the risks are probably small). But overwhelmed shelters have come up with a way through a ruff situation: Long-distance adoption.

Shelter volunteers care for the dogs, but virtual adopters hand over $39 a month to cover food and other costs. In exchange, the shelters will throw them a bone — video-chats with their remote pets.

Shelters are getting hounded

Turns out, remote workers are lonely — and they’re desperate to add some low-lift friendships into their lives. Frankly, compared to a labrador licking a webcam, Zoom llamas just don’t cut it.

One New Delhi accountant dubbed the hour he spends video chatting with his long-distance golden retriever his “stress buster.”

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