My family and I recently adopted a puppy. This is something that we had been thinking about doing for awhile because our beloved labrador of 13 years passed away last summer. A lot of things had to go into this decision such as: being emotionally ready for another dog and being able to find one that was suited for our family. It just so happened that our perfect timing within all those factors was right at the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine.
We live in California so the day that we got to go meet our new puppy also happened to be just a few days after Governor Gavin Newsom had issued a statewide order for individuals to wear face covering whenever they leave their homes. So, donning our masks, we drove to go get our new Labrador-Australian shepherd pup.
Even after all of this I hadn’t really correlated our new addition with the pandemic or the quarantine yet. Then, after having had our new family member for about a week, it dawned on me: she, like so many other recent adoptions, was a quarantine pup. After that realization, I began noticing more and more shelters and adoption agencies were going on the evening news, saying their animals are being adopted left and right. There was even an animal shelter based in Los Angeles County that was temporarily downsizing their facilities, since they had so few pets left to adopt. Even online adoption agencies have said that they have seen a jump in adoption interest by over 100%.
It’s great that we are clearing out our animal shelters and providing homes for the pets that need it. However, seeing all of these increased adoption rates, as a result of families being quarantined in their homes, does make me concerned. My main concern is that the dogs — or any other pets — that are adopted during this time of crisis are a result of the same mindset some people have when they get a puppy for Christmas. I am worried that once these puppies or kittens get bigger and perhaps quarantine advisories die down, people who have taken on a new animal will realize they don’t actually want the responsibility of an animal. If this is what happens within many of the households that have gained a pet during the quarantined months, then our animal shelters will simply fill right back up.
My hope is that this does not happen. I hope that every animal that has found a home during these troubled times makes it their forever home. My family has definitely made our new puppy a permanent member of our family and I wish for the countless others who have adopted a pet in the last few months to do the same. If you or your family are planning on adopting a pet, please keep these concerns in mind and be sure that you are in the right mindset to take on the responsibility that comes with any new pet.