If you are like me, and probably every other person I know, you have considered getting a "pandemic pet" at some point last year. Shelters, rescues, private breeders, and pet stores alike saw twice an increase in the public interest since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It makes sense- after months of lockdowns and social distancing, you're stuck at home and thinking that a new puppy or kitten would be a good way to pass the time, get outside more frequently and add some company to a pretty lonely life. Pets can ease loneliness and anxiety, seemingly ideal for life in lockdown. There is a worry; however, that animals will be abandoned once life goes back to normal and owners will no longer spend all their time at home. If you are considering adopting any pet during the pandemic, you need to ask yourself- are you ready to provide emotional and financial care to this animal for the next decade or longer?
Getting a pet is a long-term commitment that will last long past the end of the coronavirus pandemic. There are a few things to consider: How much time will you have, post-pandemic to care for a pet? How many resources and energy are you willing to put into your pet's training? Do you have the funds to care for a pet now and in the long-term? Other considerations have also come up as a result of life in lockdown that potential owners have never before had to consider. For example, pandemic animals become too bonded with their owners. During life before, pets were used to owners coming and going during the day and spending some time alone in the house. Post pandemic, owners may have to deal with severe separation anxiety from their pets as life returns to normal.
If you have decided that a pet is the right move for you, do you know your next step? One of the biggest decisions you will have to make is whether to adopt your pet from a shelter or buy from a breeder. The stigma that shelter animals are behaviourally unpredictable is not true. Many pets are surrendered not because of behavioral issues but because of a changing family situation. Many shelter animals already have all of their primary vetting completed including spays/neuters and microchipping. Furthermore, many are potty-trained, saving a lot of time, money, and effort. Additionally, by adopting a shelter animal you are opening up space in the shelter for another animal in the future. No doubt, compared to many mixed breeds in shelters, you can choose exactly what breed you want when buying from a breeder. But by choosing to rescue you are choosing to save a life.
But what is important to remember is that a pet is for life, not just for lockdown. Though one thing about owning a pet is universally true: if you do your research and do it right, it will be one of the best things you ever do.