More pet dogs are being surrendered to the Central Alberta Humane Society, and fewer are getting adopted as more Red Deerians return to their workplaces.
While pets adoptions increased during pandemic lockdowns, Shelli Steeves, the society’s animal care manager, is now seeing a noticeable rise in requests for dogs to be left at the shelter.
As pandemic restrictions lift, a lot of people have stopped working from home and returned to their offices. Steeves said this lines up with the reasons pet owners are giving for no longer wanting their dogs.
“They say they don’t have time, or there’s no one home all day, or the dog is showing some challenging behaviors.”
Canines are creatures of habit, so major changes — like suddenly being left alone all day — can result in dogs getting bored or anxious. Steeves explained this could lead to more mischievous behavior, such as the chewing of household articles, or getting into the garbage.
House-bound dogs could also urinate on the floor if they can’t “hold it” until owners return to let them out, she added.
Dog owners who are back at work can reduce stress on their pets if they are able to come home for lunch, or if they can afford a dog-walking service, or a doggie daycare a couple of times a week. Steeves suggests using the Rover app to find dog-related services in the region.
While a steady number of cats have been coming into the shelter and getting adopted during the time of COVID, Steeves has noticed that dog adoptions have now slowed down.
“There has always been an ebb and flow,” she said, hoping the situation reverses as more people get used to their new work-home situation.
The shelter mostly has large breed dogs, ranging in age from a year and up, available for adoption. “We don’t have the little, cute puppies,” so a lot of people aren’t interested, said Steeves.
A dozen dogs are now waiting for new owners, with another 12 kept in rear holding cells until some adoption kennel spaces open.
Additionally, about 25 local dog owners are on a waitlist, waiting to surrender their animals whenever the no-kill shelter has room to let them in.
Steeves said staff and foster families have been working to correct some behavioral challenges in some of the animals, and can pass these strategies on to adoptive families.
She feels all of the dogs would benefit from stability and a loving home.
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