Pandemic Pets

Q: Have you noticed an uptick in adoptions since the quarantine began? 

Jennifer Kreitz, No Dog Left Behind: We definitely have. In fact, we’ve had some of our highest number of monthly adoptions in these months since COVID quarantines have begun.  Although this virus has turned the world upside down in so many ways, rescue pups have enjoyed more opportunities to be adopted and to have the gift of time with their adoptive families as they settle into their new lives. COVID has been a blessing for so many rescue pups because people now had the time to spend integrating a new dog into their family. This was the perfect time for families to have a positive distraction and even “learning project” for their kids while everyone was at home. People who live alone also grew significantly as an adopter group  and we contribute that to the loneliness and isolation that this population was especially hit with due to COVID.  

Q: What types of animals have had the largest surge?

Honestly, all of our dogs have benefited greatly from the adoption surge. It has been especially rewarding to see almost all of our long term, harder to adopt foster pups find their perfect forever homes during this time. Older dogs, adult pups, and puppies have all been in high demand during COVID.

Q: Have you had more “foster fails”? 

Yes, we definitely have had more “foster fails” than normal.  Many of the fosters (who have become fosters only during COVID) have shared that they’ve tried to adopt a dog, but have had trouble finding a pup that’s available due to the high demand throughout our entire state/region.  So many of them have fostered as a way to adopt a dog that fits well into their family.

Q: Are people returning animals? 

We were worried that we’d have a lot of dogs being returned as people started transitioning back to work and “normal” life, but thankfully that has not yet been the case. We hope that our pups continue to be stable in their adoptive families and enjoy the experience of being in their forever families without interruption.

Q: In the application, people tell the reason why they are adopting.  Have those reasons changed significantly? 

We have 2 groups of people that have both grown exponentially since COVID — fosters (who are not looking to adopt) and adopters.  Our foster group has really grown because people have had a lot of free time and want to do something positive, meaningful, and make a difference — and what better time than when you can’t do anything else? 

Adopters have overwhelmingly stated that they feel it’s the right time to adopt since they have the time and energy to completely focus on welcoming their new family member. Also, people state that they are now working from home for an extended period of time or even indefinitely, [which is] a good time to adopt. Typically we see an uptick in summer adoptions for similar reasons. But it is nothing close to the scale that we have witnessed since March.

Q: Is there anything else that changed during this time?

Another unanticipated consequence of COVID is that we’ve been able to take on more medically complex dogs.  They typically have high vetting expenses and need experienced, longer term fosters to get through whatever health issues they have, but thanks to dedicated fosters having more time, we’ve been able to save many more dogs that would otherwise be euthanized due to their medical needs.

Reader Florence Brammer writes, “My beloved 15-year-old dog died [in February] and I was intending not to get another dog for awhile. And then the pandemic hit. As a sociable senior living alone, I looked at adoption sites on a Saturday night in April at midnight and by 2am, I had my application in to adopt a stray from Alabama, sight unseen. It’s a love match!”

Katie Sowieja writes, “We adopted 2 kittens in May during and in large part because of the pandemic. We are so glad we did — I have 2 kids and the cats (Oreo and Cupcake) have been a great joy for us all.

Sharon Lyon says, “I’m a 77-year-old woman from the Twin Cities. I had just returned from six weeks in the mountain town of San Miguel denAllende when our city began locking down for the pandemic. 
I’m a foster for Pethaven and decided to take a new kitty since I’d be home for a while. I knew within 2 days that I would become a foster fail (meaning I couldn’t let her go). I adopted her a few weeks later.
She now rules my home and gets me up and moving constantly with her demands — not a bad thing at my age. She’s a really good girl and is on a leash on my patio every moment I’m out there… which is most of the time.”

Managing Editor Sarah Whiting got a pandemic pet of her own. “We were planning to get our first family dog, but it happened to overlap the stay-at-home order. Lucky timing on our part, as we are able to do more with him than we ever thought we could. He is just learning how to roll over, and is spoiled quite rotten.”