With many people stuck at home, longing for interaction, a distraction, or even something to brighten up the times of COVID-19, animal adoption has been on a steady incline throughout the past year.
Jayne Nelson, executive director of Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) located in Aldergrove, assured that the pandemic has had a big impact on pet adoptions.
“I think there are so many more people working from home due to the pandemic, not travelling or participating in their normal activities that many people have found that they have the time for a pet,” Nelson noted. “Pets bring so much to our lives.”
Carol Briner of Canadian Animal Rescue and Extended Shelter (C.A.R.E.S.) in Langley agreed that the COVID-19 virus has resulted in increased adoption interest.
“Cats that have been difficult adoptions and in our shelter a long time have now found a home. The virus has resulted in people who live alone, becoming lonely and needing a friend,” Briner said.
With that, comes the fact that people are not giving up their cats, Briner noted, as they now have time to spend with them.
“So, the shelter population is not high at this time,” she said.
At a time when our social interactions with people are so restricted, it has been nice for some people to add the company of a pet, Nelson added, but noted there will come a time when many new pet owners will have to add back into the office.
“People who have adopted pets during the pandemic should invest some time preparing their pets to be at home alone if, post-pandemic, they will no longer be working from home,” Nelson said. “Be sure to slowly introduce normal work day routines and gradually get your pet used to be at home alone for longer times. There are lots of good resources available to help pet owners with preparations for returning to work.”
LAPS volunteers and staff have seen as many as 180 applicants for a single litter, drumming up a bit of a challenge with such high demand.
“When you have 180 applicants for three kittens, it’s tough for staff to choose just three homes amongst the many lovely families applying,” Nelson admitted, prompting the addition of a limited number of adoption requests. “It’s hard to disappoint people.”
Social distancing restrictions and event cancellations have also caused a problem for many who rely on in-person fundraisers to keep animals well fed and healthy.
“We do still have vet bills and cost and of course this is a concern, our normal fundraising activities have had to be stopped, but, our fund raising group has been innovative and has gone to the internet,” Briner explained. “We have done two silent auctions on the internet, and thanks to our supporters, who donated items for the auction, and others who bid on items, we raised funds.”
Even the adoption process has had to change, moving from a paper process to an online format in order to help provide a better and more timely service for potential adopters.
“The shelter, who operates on volunteers, has been blessed, as the volunteers, masks and all, keep coming to ensure the animals are cared for, of course we have had to change up our procedures to ensure social distancing, but all as well, as these are one dedicated group,” Briner added.
“We’re not doing fostering or meet and greets because of COVID,” Hutcheon noted. “All fundraisers have been cancelled. It’s really tough keeping all the animals fed and having enough bedding.”
Hutcheon said the Small Animal Rescue is managing to care for the animals they take in, including rabbits, hamsters, and birds, but that keeping up with finances is the largest hurdle right now.
“We have an ongoing bottle drive. People can donate when they recycle at Return-it Depots using our code, which is 9876543210,” she noted.
Nelson’s advice for anyone considering adopting an animal in the near future is to be patient, persistent, and not giving up if they aren’t successful the first few times they apply to adopt.
“There are so few animals available for adoption we are able to choose from, sometimes dozens, of excellent homes to find the very best fit for each animal in our care,” she said.
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