by Nicole Iuzzolino
During the days of quarantine, where we were locked in our homes for weeks on end, sometimes it seemed impossible to find happiness in the bleak reality at the time.
For many, getting rid of that loneliness was solved by adopting a pet, an animal to dote on for hours on end and provide us with a bit of comfort in such a dark time. For a while, people were going in droves to shelters to adopt pets, with many shelters seeing record high adoptions. However, once mask mandates began to lift all throughout the nation and COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out to all age groups, doors began opening once again. Many went back to work, started traveling again, and went back out in the world to experience the things missed out on for months.
While it is something that shouldn’t have to be said, adopting pets is not a trend. But unfortunately, the pandemic pets shortly became a fad. As stated by “USA TODAY,” Aron Jones, the executive director of Moms and Mutts Colorado Rescue, is seeing a massive increase in dogs returned, nearly double from the normal returns in a year. Jones states that the biggest reason for these returns is that,
“The trends that we’ve seen is the people who adopted, either they didn’t have any other dogs or pets or they were first-time dog owners.”
Many dogs and other animals that are being returned are around 1-years-old or older. Most of these dogs are no longer small puppies that can be treated like babies. Many breeds grow incredibly large and come with a range of more responsibilities than when first adopted. For first-time pet owners, this could become irritating, especially as offices open back up and people head back to work, leading to these pets ultimately being returned.
To the “Huffington Post,” Aron Jones explained that, “The majority of adopters use the ‘I no longer have time’ excuse while others claim they can no longer ‘handle’ their dog.” To prevent the mass return of these dogs, Jones changed their adoption applications during the pandemic to include questions such as, “How will you transition your dog to being alone once you return to work?”
Unfortunately, adopters did not anticipate the difficulties this transition would be.
At Moms and Mutts Colorado Rescue, there is a contract that states if a dog is to be returned, to return it back to them and not a shelter. This rule is not just practiced at this shelter, yet even still, rescue groups such as the Las Vegas Trapping Girls have seen a rise in dogs being dumped on the side of the road and a number of “free dog listings” popping up online. This could lead to dogs being taken for dogfighting rings or putting them in environments where the animals are not safe.
So if you are currently struggling with your pandemic pet, before giving them back up, look into a reputable trainer, make sure your dog is getting enough walks and exercise, and give it lots of love because the pandemic is affecting everyone.