Jason Soul / Staff reporter
The bright side of COVID-19 is that the dog adoption rate has immensely increased and many dogs have found a new home. At the beginning of the pandemic, adoption centres across Canada reported a spike in adoptions and pet fostering as people suddenly began working at home and had more time to take care of a pet.
According to an interview by CTV news, Natalia Hanson, marketing and communications coordinator for Humane Society of Canada said that the trend of increase in dog adoptions and fosters are continuing so that a lot of shelter across the country are low in capacity.
“Throughout the year that trend has continued, so much so that a lot of our shelters across the country are low in capacity right now,” said Hanson. “There are some in the foster system that will be available soon, but clearly shelters are being emptied out, which is a good thing,”
As people are experiencing anxieties from isolation and socially distancing, raising pets at home allowed them to keep them occupied and overcome boredom. As seniors tend to be at greater risk of isolation and loneliness, being stuck at home due to health or transportation issues, have considered adopting dogs during the pandemic.
Additionally, people started adopting dogs during the pandemic not only because they have more time to take care of them but also that the pets are emotionally and mentally helpful. The previous scientific studies have shown that interactions with animals may help with depression and anxiety, particularly under stress-prone conditions.
“I adopted a dog for my mother who lives alone when the pandemic began,” said Peter Lim, a graduate of Gleneagle who adopted a dog during the pandemic. “I was worried about her since she is alone at home most of the time and is hard for me to visit her because of the social gathering limitations. However, adopting a dog for her really helped her to stay mentally healthy.”
The increase in dog adoptions and sales also benefited the market of the pet business. The pet gear brand Fable announced that due to a major spike in pet adoptions and families spending more time at home with their pets, they have experienced unprecedented growth increase by 12 times.
The American Pet Products Association projects that Americans will spend a record-high $99 billion this year on all things pet. Online pet food sales jumped 77% in the U.S. in March 2020, sourced by CNBC news. Pet merchandise is expected to be one of the top gift-giving categories, according to a survey by consulting firm Deloitte.
“We see customers looking for more convenient ways to walk their dogs or maximize the utility of their space,” said Sophie Bakalar, co-founder of direct-to-consumer premium pet gear brand Fable. “One of the biggest concerns we’ve heard, especially during Covid-19, has been around separation anxiety and boredom. People are looking for products that will keep their pets occupied while working from home.”
However, there are also following concerns with a rising number in adoptions. There’s a worry among humane societies and SPCAs that people will realize that they can no longer be able to take care and spend time with their pets as their lives get back on track when the virus is settled down.
“Raising a dog requires great responsibilities,” said Martin Santomin, grade 11. “Sharing your life with a dog is one of the most rewarding things, and for the dog to give you loyalty and love, you have to accept them as part of your family and take care of them with love.”