Shelters Report Record Adoption Returns As Life Returns To “New Normal” After Pandemic

At the beginning of the pandemic, there was one silver lining: Pet adoptions soared through the roof. As people began to spend more time at home, work from home, and find themselves with little to do, the decision to adopt a pet became easier to make.

People had more time to dedicate to training and exercising, and the company of a pet was well welcomed with the isolation of the pandemic.

Things were really looking up for shelter pets, and some shelters even ran out of pets! It was a good problem to have, but it wouldn’t last forever.

Photo: flickr/Nenad Stojkovic

As the world began to open back up slowly and people returned to work, shelters began to see an increase in the return of pandemic puppies.

One thing many people didn’t consider when adopting a puppy over the pandemic was that one day, life would return to a new state of normal that would include going back to work, picking up new activities, going out with friends, and doing all of the things we used to do (though, in a slightly more socially-distanced fashion).

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Not everyone returned their puppies as 2020 turned into 2021, though. After all, many people saw a permanent change to working from home and many events and “normal” activities were still postponed or canceled because of the pandemic – leaving plenty of time for dog ownership.

Now that 2022 is approaching, however, shelters are seeing a record-breaking case of adopted puppies being returned. One of the main reasons? People are eager to travel again and don’t want to board their new pets.

In an interview with Fox 31, MAMCO (Moms and Mutts) Executive Director Aron Jones said, “We’re at 163 returns right now, most of them, the majority of them has been dogs that were adopted in 2020.”

Photo: flickr/Dave Parker

The Colorado-based rescue has been overwhelmed with the number of returns. Jones said that while they’re working to make progress in finding fosters for the returned dogs, they continue to get new return requests on a daily basis – something they’re struggling to keep up with.

“It’s just kind of defeating and frustrating and money’s tight, supplies are tight, adoptions are slow. It’s just been a really challenging year overall,” Jones said in the interview.

Photo: Pixabay/Tony Wu

What makes the situation even worse is the reason for the returns: People wanting to travel. Traveling with pets at home is certainly more challenging since you have to pay for boarding or find someone to care for them while you’re away. Since more countries are opening up to tourism, many people are realizing that pet ownership is only right for them when it’s convenient.

MAMCO isn’t the only shelter experiencing a wave of returns now that the world is opening up even more. Dumb Friends League and others have seen an increase in surrenders. It’s discouraging, and it goes to show that further education should be done on pet ownership and adoption. It’s a huge commitment, and not making the decision to adopt before being fully ready or educated can be disastrous for the pet involved.

Watch the interview below:

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