SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- An unintended consequence of coronavirus is that some animals are left behind when their human is unexpectedly hospitalized.

Sadly, that's been happening in western Massachusetts.

Dakin Humane Society in Springfield is asking people to put a plan in place, so in case an emergency happens, a beloved pet is taken care of.

On Wednesday, Amy Howard met Sampa. Howard is Sampa's new forever person.

“We'd been looking for a dog for a little while,” Howard explained.

Howard is adopting Sempa from Dakin Humane Society. Sampa arrived there, under some difficult circumstances.

“I know that she came from a home where her owner recently passed away from the coronavirus,” Howard noted.

Dakin executive director Carmine Dicenso explained, “I know that, in that particular case, that gentleman…he was actually unconscious for the first few days. When he was in the hospital and when he woke up, the first thing he said was that he had his dog at home and he was very concerned.”

Heartbreaking, Dicenso said, but sadly, other animals have found their way here under similar circumstances.

“Really, sadly, a lot of the cases we've seen have been the folks have not survived coronavirus, so the animals have come in with the intention of either going back to them, but unfortunately, the outcome has been sad for those people,” Dicenso added.

Dakin is alerted to the status of these animals left behind either by family, neighbors, or by first responders.

“There are some first responders going into the home to actually take that person to the hospital or wherever they need to go and they would see that animal in there and they would notify someone,” Dicenso explained.

Dicenso is asking pet owners to have a plan in place.

“If you were to be called away from your home unexpectedly or taken out of your home, making sure you have enough food on hand, making sure you have maybe a neighbor, friend, family member that knows that they are stepping in,” Dicenso noted.

Dakin has a safety plan for animals or span program. It said each animal should have a supply kit including:

  • Two-week supply of any medications
  • Pet food
  • Food bowls
  • Leashes
  • Favorite toys or comfort items
  • Medical records
  • Important phone numbers

For Sampa, it’s a happy ending and some comfort in his last days, for the human that sadly had to leave Sampa behind.

“I know that is was going to be comforting to him to know that his dog was going to be okay and going to live a good, happy life,” Dicenso said.

While other shelters are not offering adoptions during this time of coronavirus restrictions, Dakin is, but with strict social distancing guidelines.

For more information on adoptions and pet safety plans:

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