We want to start out with some good news - The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) released new data from a nationally representative poll of 5,020 respondents, confirming that close to one in five households acquired a cat or dog since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, which would account for approximately 23 million American households based on the 2019 U.S. Census. The vast majority of these households still have that pet in the home (90% for dogs and 85% for cats). This is great news!
As COVID-19 restrictions continue to be lifted across the country, the majority of surveyed pet owners are incorporating pets into their lifestyles with little reported concern about having enough time to spend with their pet or wanting to travel more but feeling limited by an animal. Although some pet owners expressed general concerns, 87% of respondents shared that they are not considering rehoming their animal, suggesting that pet owners remain committed to caring for their cats and dogs.
Even without a national surge in returns occurring at this time, there are a variety of reasons that might make it difficult for someone to keep a pet due to factors outside of their control. The ASPCA encourages any pet owner who may be considering rehoming their pet to enlist the support of a friend or neighbor—or to reach out to a shelter or rescue organization in their area, as the staff can often provide advice and assistance.
For pet owners who are concerned about their new dog experiencing separation anxiety when routines change, there are many resources over with our friends at the ASPCA (or even here on our blog!) to help ease the transition and working with a certified applied animal behaviorist, veterinary behaviorist or certified professional dog trainer can help.
Before you even start looking for a dog or cat, we urge you to take some time to think about your lifestyle, both before and during COVID-19, and consider how they would fit in. If you live with family members, roommates, or others, what part would they play in the their life? Maybe you get up every morning at 5 a.m. and go running, so an active dog would be a good match. Or maybe you’re in a small space with five other people who spend their weekends walking around the neighborhood and binge-watching Netflix, so a middle-aged chill dog would be more your speed. Now that you know your “type,” you can head to animal shelters, rescue groups, and online adoption sites with your ideal pet in mind.
When starting your search, stopping by your local animal shelter is the best way to meet your future dog, but if it’s currently closed to walk-ins, download the Petfinder app right now. Trust me. This database will lead you to all the homeless animals in your area, and you can sort by size, age, breed, and more, which makes finding a match as easy as clicking a few buttons. It's basically online dating but with dogs & cats.
We also want to advise that it's vital to be patient and know that going into the process. That and make sure you set up a meeting if at all possible, since this will provide you with that "connection." Other than that, try to really enjoy the search, the planning process and eventually the prep in anticipation of HOMECOMING! This should always be a win-win and at the end of the day, you're doing a very good thing and saving a life. Remember though, our lives today may be different, but they eventually will shift back towards somewhat of a "normal" lifestyle. Think of that up front when planning for an adoption as we all know that life can shift at any given moment.
Please reach out to the Town House for Dogs and Cats for any questions or advice. Call us for more information or make your appointment with the Town House today.
As always, thank you for being a member of our Town House.