Early on in the pandemic, circa summer 2019, an acquaintance reached out to me.
"Hola Jessica. I'm wondering if you have any dog I can foster now. We're working from home due to the pandemic and I'm in my condo alone all the time." said pseudo-name-Sally.
"Wow, that's incredible Sally that you want to foster now?! -After all these years of me trying to get you to foster here and there, now you're able and willing?! That's great... but believe it or not, we don't have any dog to foster at this very instant. With Covid, it's like everyone and everyone's brother needs a dog all of the sudden," I shared. -Lastly I added that I'd keep her in mind as a foster.
|Silly Julie, she's the cutest, right?!|
Within a couple of weeks of that phone call, I did find a dog for pseudo-name-Sally to foster, however, by then her boss had 'lent her' her own dog so she wouldn't be so lonely.
(The last time I saw 'Sally,' at a park a few months ago, she was still caring for her boss's dog, which is pretty cool... seemingly, she kind of ended up with that little cute fluff-butt of a dog!)
Not long after that, also during the worst of the pandemic, I had a conversation with Ms. Vicki of Kentucky Mutts Rescue Inc.
Now Ms. Vicki is an OG in the rescue world. She's been doing rescue work for as long as I've been alive, and is well-respected by anyone that knows her and has a brain.
"You know we're going to be paying for this 10fold for years to come after this pandemic right?" said Ms. Vicki, referring to the intense and sudden demand for dogs during the pandemic.
I chuckled and said, "You really think so?" -thinking to myself, 'geez, Ms. Vicki must be really tired or overwhelmed; she's not usually so negative. And I didn't believe I'd see her opinion on this matter actualize. Yet here I sit, approximately 4 years later to say, 'Yep, very unfortunately, Ms. Vicki was right.'
|One of Missy's puppies, I can't recall name, but know which family has him (In.!)|
So what the hell happened with all of these pandemic pups? Why are we seeing no-kill shelters be forced to kill again because people couldn't keep their dogs?
1.) Unexperienced dog owners and first-time dog owners were adopting and buying dogs during the pandemic. -Dogs are a lot of work, and they're not for everyone. Some people discovered, during the pandemic or just thereafter (when they were able to plan vacations and what not again), that 'having a dog wasn't really for them' after all. Some of those dogs ended up put out on the road somewhere, some rehomed, and some in shelters.
2.) Unexperienced dog owners and first-time dog owners were adopting and buying dogs during the pandemic. -Yes, I know I just said that for #1. And the other issue with this was: these people had no idea how to, and often did no research on how to, train a dog. So rescues and shelters have been getting in more badly-behaved-dogs than usual... dogs that have social anxiety, dogs that don't know how to sit, or aren't even house-broken, and just don't even know the very basics. This of course makes these dogs harder to place, makes for longer stays, leads to overcrowding, etc. Guys, not even all shelter or rescue workers know how to address or work through every behavior problem a dog may have... and for those that do, they likely don't have the space, time, energy or resources to take on a lot of these complicated cases that may need a few weeks or more to help get the dog to 'baseline normal.'
3.) More so than ever, during the pandemic, some people suddenly saw pets as a disposable commodity. To me, this seems strangest, but you had and have a lot of people out there that just 'weren't bonding' with those pets they took in. I have to make myself not bond with fosters and rescues... but with my own pet, I've always been able to create a healthy bond. And with that comes a sense of duty and responsibility to that pet... as in, I'd be homeless on the street with my dog before I'd move somewhere where I couldn't have him. He's family. #petsarefamily (and I know if you're reading this blog, you probably feel the same)!
|Delilah was a real handful for her family at first, but they stuck with it and kept her, yay!|
4.) Spay/Neuter... oh yeah... remember those 2 words... 'we're supposed to get them fixed right? So they don't have puppies right? But I have a lot friends that want a puppy...' Yeah, that's the kind of crap we hear as rescues pretty regularly.
People don't spay and neuter their pets, a few cycles later, innocent pets will be dying in shelters because of that. We do not need to let pets have unplanned or unwanted litters. Period. That could be a whole separate blog post... and eventually I'll get to it, but for now, check out this link on benefits of spay/neuter for your pets, it's concise and great: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/spayneuter-your-pet
So, What Now, in June of 23'?
It's bad. It's pretty bad for rescues and shelters everywhere guys. And most of us are getting, or are already, burnt out. We've been at it hard for a long time, and it just doesn't let up.
Things You Can Do To Help:
-Please spay or neuter your pets.
-Adopt if you're able to give a pet a loving, permanent home.
-Foster a pet.
-Volunteer at your local shelter.
-Spread the word about adopting, fostering or volunteering
-Make a will or trust, and include pets in those plans
-Make a donation to a rescue or shelter (#laboroflove but it's still a lot of labor and there are bills to pay). Want to donate to this rescue, here's a link: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=H8XY88YMR6HJJ