Who could imagine looking back at 2020 and the first waves of COVID lockdowns with fondness? But for many folks who adopted “pandemic pets,” perhaps hoping to alleviate isolation, to provide a sense of routine and normalcy, or simply for some company, it was the start of a beautiful, lifetime bond. A warm, if odd, time to remember. Unfortunately, while we can point to some factors – even seemingly rough ones, like COVID-19 – as leading people into the joy of keeping pets, other well-known factors lead people into surrendering them.
One painfully common factor is simple economics, so perhaps it comes as no surprise that in the face of inflation and a looming recession, shelters and rescues across the country are reporting a dramatic uptick in surrenders. This, unfortunately, isn’t a new or unexpected phenomenon. For example, 2007-2009 saw many “foreclosure pets” dropped off at shelters across the United States. While there are support systems such as pet food banks, this isn’t always enough. The sad fact of the matter is that many people, when forced by the times they live in to tighten their budget or relocate, simply can no longer keep their pets – and we now appear to be moving into one of those times.