By Grace Gilson

Did you or someone you know adopt a new pet during quarantine? Many pet rescues and breeders actually struggled to keep up with the demand for pets during the stay-at-home orders! One shelter owner, according to the Washington Post, mentioned that they thought the adoption spike would fizzle as people felt the need to conserve money, but that did not happen! Additionally, in normal times, the number of people who ended up keeping their animals permanently after fostering was 10%. Compare that to the 25% of people who chose to keep animals that they fostered during the pandemic! 

Many of us probably know at least one person who everyone thought would never adopt an animal, who ended up taking in a furry friend in the past year. Maybe it was the person who was always skittish around dogs, or who just despised the fact that animals shed, but then they adopted an animal and became totally obsessed. How much of the spike is due to these people? 

Why might numbers have spiked so much during the pandemic? Many times, people are hesitant to adopt animals because they are at work all day and don’t think they have the time to watch the dog, which for many is absolutely true. But during the pandemic, when many people are at home more often, this issue is no longer prevalent! Another reason for this is the boredom brought on by the pandemic. People want something to do, and raising a puppy is a lot of work, and a lot of fun! 

I wonder how this dramatic spike will affect the future. How will this spike affect adoptions next year and the year after? Will there be a sharp decline? Since many people got a dog at once, it is very plausible that not many people will be adopting when the world goes back to normal. Also, when people go back to work, will we see an increase in demand for ‘puppy-daycares’? This could be a real issue for many people whose animals have become used to them being home all of the time. Is it possible that these animals could help people struggle with the increased risk of anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, and insomnia caused by quarantine?

Overall, I think it will be interesting to see the effects of this adoption spike, on happiness, on the ‘pet-care’ economy, and on other aspects of life. As for now, just enjoy time with your furry friends!