You can have a shelter pet join your next Zoom meeting


Are you suffering from Zoom fatigue? You’re not alone. Since the global pandemic first struck, millions of people have had to use video chat platforms to conduct business meetings and stay connected with family and friends. But it’s just not the same as talking in person.

An animal shelter in Richmond, Virginia, has a fun solution that can hopefully make your Zoom call a little more relaxed. Through their RACC Chat program, they’re offering up homeless dogs and cats who will pop in on your virtual meetings.

According to The Dodo, anyone can contact Richmond Animal Care and Control and ask for a dog or cat to join their video chat. They can even request a certain type of animal, or go so far as to request an animal with a specific temperament, like a chilled-out cat or an excitable puppy.

And for corporate calls, the shelter has set up some makeshift office-style backgrounds to really set the scene:

Shelter dog Buster recently joined a RACC Chat with a student robotics team and the team revealed on Facebook that they “had so much fun.” Of their canine participant, they wrote, “She’s beautiful and was very content the entire hour of our call!”

“We were just thinking of something we could do that would make people smile,” Christie Chipps Peters, the director of Richmond Animal Care and Control, told The Dodo. “We are surrounded by animals every day, and we really do understand the love and comfort that comes from them.”

Ultimately, the shelter is hoping the RACC Chat program will encourage more people to adopt a pet. Their Facebook page features some of their current adoptees looking for their forever homes, including “little cool dog” Spot, who is perfectly house-broken and great on a leash.

In the meantime, if you’d like to book a furry face for your next Zoom call, you can email the shelter at

Animals, Pets

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Claire Gillespie

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