As Feared, People Are Returning Their Pandemic Pets

People Are Giving Up Their Pandemic Pets

a shelter puppy

You’ve heard of pandemic babies, but have you heard of pandemic puppies? When the COVID-19 pandemic began and people started to quarantine and work from home, there was a surge in pet adoptions. Puppies especially were adopted from shelters and rescues at record speed.

With people spending more time than ever at home, it seemed like the perfect time to add a furry family member. Now though, with people returning to work and traveling again, an alarming number of those pets are being returned.

Many shelters and rescues across the country are experiencing double the number of returned pets than they normally would. Summer is already the time of year when shelters are full to bursting, and many are struggling to find the room and resources for the influx of owner surrenders.

To make matters worse, many of the pandemic puppies being returned as young adult dogs have challenging behaviors that developed from spending the past year at home without socialization. While stay-at-home orders were in place, many dogs were not getting out and socializing. What’s more, dogs weren’t practicing being left alone in a healthy way in order to prepare for their owner’s return to the office.

Now they are presenting destructive separation anxiety and fear of new things, which makes the transition from a home to a shelter even more scary for them. These behaviors also make it harder for shelters and rescues to find them new homes.

Some regions have also seen an increase in litters surrendered by owners that did not spay and neuter their pets during the lockdown.

Foster. Volunteer. Donate.

It is a tough time in animal welfare. Adoption returns are up, while new adoptions are down. With the added pressures of owner surrenders and kitten season, shelters and rescues are at max capacity.

If you are looking for ways to help in your community, shelters are desperate for donations to keep their hundreds of bellies full, and rescues are desperate for foster homes.

Best Friends Animal Society’s Eric Rayvid said it perfectly in a statement to USA Today: “It was common to have pets and full-time jobs before the pandemic, so there’s no reason people going back to work can’t successfully keep their pets with some adjustments and planning.

Our pets have been there for us and provided companionship and comfort through an extremely difficult year, and we should honor the commitment we made to them through adoption.