When this Corona crap hit us, many people saw the value of having a pet. Companions for singles working from home, distractions for kids before and after homeschooling, etc. Veterinarian visits increased. However, that’s a good thing! Pet owners had the time time to notice health changes in their pets and made appointments. Although you might have to wait outside for a vet tech to take your pet to see the vet, you couldn’t watch the exam; it was virtual. What?
I wish I had stock in pet foods and pet toy companies; they have done well. That’s probably a good thing too; we don’t need a shortage. However, month by month stats reveal and record changes, some not so good.
March 2020 statistics reported that pet adoptions went over the top! Hundreds of rescues across the country reported an almost 68% increase in adoptions and a 70% increase in foster applications! A strangely fortuitous side effect, right?
According to statistics, at the beginning of April 2020, there were over 205,126 shelter pets, 55,387 in foster care, and over 195,000 adopted. Mid-April 2020 sone rescues across the country announced they were virtually empty! Of course, that inspired a high number of irresponsible pet owners to dump, we mean, surrender their pets, including litters of puppies and kittens by the hundreds. During this time, the stats marked an increase in college student pet adoptions. That is hardly ever a good thing, ask their parents.
By May 2020, adoptions continue to increase, and COVID expanded, creating challenges for people in every way of life. Finances were growing tighter, and even though that cute little fuzzy face found a way into their hearts, they made the decisions to return their adopted pets. Pet rescue statistics show that shelter and rescues reported a high increase in returns and a decrease in adoptions.
June and July 2020 have proven to be the worst-case scenarios for most shelters and rescues in the country. In a nutshell, it’s funding. Costs continue to rise, and funding has become more difficult. Returns have added to the price of very overcrowded facilities.
Have we learned a lesson? Are we not vetting each adopter well enough? Has our enthusiasm and the dire need for placement overridden the vows we virtually took to place each pet in a forever home? Maybe, but I’m thinking that the burden of this problem of returns falls on the shoulders of the people who decide to adopt a pet without considering that they accept enormous responsibility.
So our responsibility is to educate those who would include a pet in their lives. The issue of returns is sad. Each Oklahoma and Arkansas rescue or shelter I spoke to added to the stats but were far below the average because we exported many pets to other rescues out of state. We can be proud of the lower incidences of returns, but it is something to think about. Returns punish pets in so many ways.
We can do better!
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