The pandemic puppy – a wise decision?

There has been a lot written lately about the so-called “pandemic puppy.” The story boils down to this: countless Canadians who are bored and lonely during the lockdown are rushing out to buy or adopt puppies, and when the health crisis is over, all these puppies and dogs are going to be dumped in animal shelters. A compelling story, but the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) doesn’t think it’s true.

Have we all seen more puppies out in the community since March? Yes. Do we think it is a phenomenon that is going to cause widespread animal welfare concerns and flood shelters with unwanted puppies and dogs? No.

Like the widespread concern about adopting animals at Christmas, this isn’t believed to be an issue. In the experience of OHS, people make bad decisions all year round, but a good decision can be made when people are home for the holidays or because of a lockdown. The common element between Christmas and a lockdown is time available — time to prepare your home and yourself for a pet, time to integrate that pet into your home and, time to do the kind of positive interactions and training that form a bond that ultimately makes the adoption a success.

The Ottawa Humane Society has long encouraged anyone considering a pet to ask themselves these questions:

  1. Have I researched the needs of pets and a particular species or breed, so that I have made a good match for myself, my family and my lifestyle?
  2. Am I ready and able, now and in the future, to make the commitment of time and resources to care for a pet for its lifetime?

Frankly, if the answer to both these questions is yes, then you are ready for a pet — even during a pandemic.


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