Adorable Foster Puppies Get Playdate at the Georgia Aquarium While It's Closed to the Public

Odie and Carmel made friends with a grouper fish and even snuck in a nap at one of the exhibits.

When the humans are away, the puppies will play.

Odie and Carmel, 2-month old Jack Russell terrier mixes from the Atlanta Humane Society had the playdate of a lifetime when they got to explore an empty Georgia Aquarium on Tuesday.

The aquarium, like many other facilities throughout the United States, has temporarily closed its doors to the public to help stop the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19.

However, Carmel and Odie were invited to an afternoon out at the aquarium for some exercise and much-needed joy. The pups (who are also siblings!) are currently staying in foster homes.

“We have a history of supporting each other and this play date was no exception!,” Jessica Fontana, the senior director of communications and marketing events at the Georgia Aquarium, tells PEOPLE. “They are continuing to care for their animals during this global pandemic, as are we, and this was a way to give the puppies a fun day and put a much-needed smile on a lot of faces.”

In photos and a video shared by the organizations, Carmel and Odie can be seen running through the halls and marveling at colorful fish and whale sharks in the aquarium’s massive Ocean Voyager Gallery.

“Our giant grouper fish seemed particularly curious about the puppies,” Fontana added.

All of the day’s excitement appeared to wear the pups out, as they snuck in a quick nap on one of the exhibit’s windows. Looks like Odie makes a cozy pillow!

Puppy Playdate
Carmel and Odie taking a nap. Georgia Aquarium

“This is the best thing on the internet right now! Thank you!” one Twitter user wrote in response to the furry field trip.

“So beautiful and uplifting!” added another.

Many aquariums and zoos are offering online programming to keep animal lovers entertained at home including livestreams, interactive lessons about their animals and printable activities for kids.

Celebrities, too, are touting the benefits of fostering shelter animals during the pandemic. Selena Gomez, Kyle Chandler, and Antoni Porowski are just some of the stars who have recently welcomed dogs into their homes.

“It’s very important for us to support our local shelters because they’re getting a lot less foot traffic,” Porowski said in a clip posted by the Austin Pets Alive! shelter. “If you can’t commit to adopting, I would encourage fostering as well.”

The Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the American Veterinary Medical Association have all stated that pets are not at risk of spreading COVID-19, and science has shown time and time again that adding an animal to your life makes you happier and healthier.

If you’re looking for more information, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) provides resources and information about rescuing animals and companion animal safety.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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