Now officially dubbed the “great escape”, Tears Animal Rescue was able to evacuate and temporarily rehome over 100 dogs who lived at the animal shelter’s kennels before the official lockdown began in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.“On Monday evening, 23 March, following the president’s address to the nation, we posted on our social media accounts that we need foster homes to evacuate our kennels. The response and support from Capetonians were overwhelming and we’re so grateful,” says Luke Kruyt, marketing coordinator at Tears.The main aim for the shelter last week, he says, was to get all their rescued dogs and puppies out of the shelter and into temporary foster homes during the 21-day lockdown. “Without the help of our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to provide sufficient stimulation for all our dogs and puppies at our shelter during the lockdown so we decided to evacuate the shelter so the dogs didn’t have to be confined to their kennels for 21 days.”Tears notes in a statement that the shelter will be closed to the public for the duration of the lockdown, but will continue to provide emergency services to sick, injured, stray and abandoned animals in the four vulnerable communities it serves (Masiphumelele, Ocean View, Redhill and Vrygrond). The veterinary hospital and the Tears mobile clinic will remain operational for sick and injured companion animals, and to rescue stray and abandoned pets within its operational footprint.“We anticipate a rise in abandonment and surrendered animals as people struggle to feed their families, which negatively affects their pets. “We’re also working on a roster for our mobile clinic which we will share via our social media platforms, so that the public is aware of when and where to bring us sick and injured animals. “Ultimately, we are also responsible for the safety of our staff, so we will need to monitor the situation on a daily basis,” notes the shelter’s general manager, Lauren Carlyle, in the statement.Kruyt explains that the cats not taken home will remain at the shelter. “At this stage, the cats and kittens are safe at our cattery and we haven’t made the call to evacuate our cattery. “While we have placed a few kittens and adult cats into foster homes, the majority of our cats are safe and happy staying at Tears,” he says.He adds that Tears staff will be able to process adoption questionnaires, “but, sadly, adoptions are on halt during the 21-day lockdown”. “We hope to be back up and operating by Thursday 16 April.”Another hope is that all the temporary adopters will fall in love with their pooches over the next three weeks. “We’re bound to have a few ‘foster failures’ by the end of the lockdown – but we are hoping many families cannot bear the thought of returning their new BFF to Tears and end up officially adopting them.”The shelter is calling for support during this time of crisis. “Our online shop is still functioning and people can order their pet food and supplies from us – we do deliveries in Cape Town and every purchase helps animals in need,” he says.For more information and to support, visit: www.tears.org.za/shop/.