Adopt or borrow? – having pets during the pandemic

With the introduction of the curfew in some countries, people’s desire for animals increased. However, alongside responsible owners there are many who just want to avoid the rules by walking their pets after the curfew. Will be the animals returned to the shelters who are not loved enough? Is adopting dogs and cats a selfish act?

The need for animals who can provide companionship to their owners has clearly increased in the past year since the pandemic broke out. The figure below shows a pandemic-specific trend, when adoption significantly decreased while foster caring increased.

It is common practice in shelters to thoroughly monitor and question adopters about their motivation. “99 percent of people adopt just to avoid the curfew,” said Alexandra Csige the president of B.F. Add a Mancsod Foundation in Hungary. Therefore they temporarily stopped the adoption process in November 2020. They are afraid that the dogs will be returned after the pandemic.

Éva Novák, the shelter manager of the Állatbarát Foundation, received many calls from people who requested only a partial adoption for the duration of the curfew. “These requests were, of course, denied,” she said in an RTL report.

Not only shelters need to be vigilant during this period, but also owners. Due to the home office, animals can get used to the constant presence of their owners, which can lead to a sudden separation and separation anxiety. As the ASPCA.org mentions in an article, “it can result in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors.”

“We went around the topic, asking the breeder when it was worth starting to make the dog get used to being alone. We have a home kennel where the he sleeps at night from the beginning and also spends 10-15 minutes there every day,” says Edina Ruff, whose dog, Espresso, is part of their family for weeks now.

The amount of money spending on pets was not affected by the current state of the economy and the coronavirus. APPA COVID-19 Pulse Study shows that 64% of pet owners surveyed have spent the same amount of money on their pets as they did pre-pandemic – and 21% have spent either a little or a lot more. On the other hand, only 15% have spent either a little or a lot less on their pets since the pandemic began.

Zsófia Palotás, who adopted a cat during the pandemic says, “I know I should spend less now but I don’t feel like I can’t buy something for myself just because I have to spend on her too.”

Zsófia Palotás’s cat, named Bolygó

The cover photo is by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

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