Are more “pandemic dogs” being returned to shelters?

60 is a Lithuanian website that publishes articles about “lightweight and inoffensive topics,” including frequent posts about animals. A week ago, the site shared a Facebook post from a British group, “Yorkshire Rose Dog Rescue.” The post included a story supposedly written by an anonymous veterinarian, who claimed he increasingly had been asked to euthanize healthy young dogs that were adopted during the pandemic by people who couldn’t or didn’t train them. The Yorkshire Rose Dog Rescue group concurred, writing in some introductory post that they, too, had been seeing dogs surrendered by overwhelmed owners on a daily basis.


I’m looking for articles or news coverage that might support these allegations – that after a record number of adoptions and fostering in 2020, that people are starting to give up the pets they brought home last year. I didn’t find many.

I found an October 2020 article on the Today Show website that quoted a California rescue group that said they had seen an increased number of dogs who were given up due to pandemic-related financial hardship.

I found a link to a December 2020 Fox News broadcast alleging that shelters in Minnesota were seeing higher numbers of abandoned and surrendered animals, also due to pandemic-related financial hardship.

But I also found articles that alleged that adoptions and fostering are still taking place at a record pace. Sadly, I also saw many articles discussing the fact that puppy mills and backyard breeders have been producing puppies as fast as they can, to meet the pandemic demand.

My own experience, volunteering in a rural Northern California county shelter, is that the intake numbers are down, and “live release rates” (adoptions, fosters, and transfers to other shelters) are up. My local shelter has been increasingly sending animals to shelters in more populated and more affluent areas in the San Francisco Bay area.

Here at WDJ, we’ve tried to meet the needs of new dog owners with an increased number of articles aimed at basic education, especially for puppy training (including here, here, here, here, and here!). I remain hopeful that the increase in adoptions and fostering will contribute to an increase in responsible dog ownership and lower rates of euthanasia.

But I’m curious: What’s your experience? If you work or volunteer in rescue, are you seeing an increase in animal returns or surrenders? Or are dogs still in short supply? If you are trying to adopt, have you found a decrease or an increase in the number of dogs available?


  1. I work at a shelter outside of Philadelphia, PA, and we’re not seeing an increase in returns. Adoptions are still going strong. I know there’s a human impulse to find the dark side, and part of me things, well, the pandemic isn’t over yet, but I don’t think these dire predictions are fact-based.

  2. Well, I don’t work for a shelter, but I will say this… during 1 week alone (mid-January 2021) about 6 of my Facebook friends announced that they were getting puppies, and it happened to be the same week we reserved a puppy as well. We had planned on getting one next year but decided since we were home a lot more this would be a good time since we’d have time to train it. I went to Petco to buy a collar and the ENTIRE collar/leash section was DECIMATED. Gone.

    • Etsy. You can get collars just as good or even better on Etsy, often with a matching leash. My dog has a growing wardrobe as I just bought her a birthday set, complete with a flower for the collar and scarf that says Birthday Girl. Her birthday is in October. I also got her an Easter collar with flower. She has several Christmas collars, everyday collars and ones for scentwork. She is 100lbs of love, Joy and insecurity so I’d like her to feel as feminine as she can.

  3. I am a “in-home” breeder of AKC registered West Highland White Terriers. My dogs are absolutely my “family” first and each of my females only has one litter a year. Because of “all things Covid” my waiting list is the longest it has every been (been breeding for 10+ years). I thoroughly vet each of my potential families before adding them to my list and have had to encourage each one to continue looking, as I can’t guarantee if or when I might have a puppy available for them.

    • While I really don’t support breeding, I applaud you for your description of how you handle this. You “rest” those mother dogs to control the rate.

      • I support responsible breeding, like the Westie breeder in the original comment. If you own a dog, where do you think it comes from? All dogs come from a breeder. Blanket statements such as yours, and phrases like “resting the mother dogs,” are misleading at best, and insulting to those who dedicate their lives to the improvement of their chosen breed.

        • Carole, I totally respect your opinion, honestly I do, and I don’t think the previous comment was actually a major insult to breeders at all: You should understand though, that in the animal rescue world, with shelter dogs’ and cats’ very lives depending upon attracting the attention of potential adopters- many of whom might never even consider adoption if they’d “always had a “_______” (certain breed) when growing up. It’s not a personal thing against breeders per se. The concern is justified and real, and honestly Ms. or Mr. Curren’s comment was extremely tactful compared to many people I’ve heard. Just FYI.

          • I agree with you. Many dogs really need homes, and I support shelters. But I do understand that some people believe they have to have a dog from a breeder. Natalie sounds like an excellent breeder, not a puppy mill. I commend her for filling that need responsibly. Of the 10 dogs we have had over the years, one was from a breeder, 2 were from a back yard accidental breeding, and 7 were from shelters.

          • Good answer Nina to C.R…..there are thousands of dogs wanting love, needing good homes. I would not buy off a breeder. Fullstop.
            So many it makes me cry, and wish I could love all the sad, neglected doggies who faces are pinned on wire mesh cages, and left in the cold. (esp in Eastern Europe)

        • One litter a year you consider REST! Two litters per life time is what I would consider a good breeder. And just because someone wants a pup doesn’t mean they should get one. Do the math.

          • Typical online conversation goes off topic 3 comments in. This is the problem with the online world. People always jump in who have a problem with EVERYTHING. Pay attention, the topic was “is there an increase in people surrendering pandemic puppies” thanks to the writer I think I have my answer.

    • Sorry I strongly disagree. Those bitches are not really being “rested”. By the age of 8 or 9, the bitch has had 8 or 9 litters? (once a year). That is way too many. Most responsible breeders only breed two or three times in the bitch’s lifetime and only when they want to keep one or more of the pups. Your once a year SOUNDS reasonable however, they can only have two a year and that depletes their calcium from their own bones because they are giving their calcium to the puppies. I adopted and saved a 9 year old puppy mill bitch whose calcium was so depleted we were afraid to let her play or jump out of the car until it reached appropriate levels for fear one of her bones would break.
      Right now I have a 12 year old foundation stud of his breed in the CKC. I received him when he was 10 and he had only been used twice for breeding. He has all health clearances for genetic diseases, his hips are OFA good and his eyes were tested before each breeding. His bitches were all from different lines in order that the genetic pool be diversified.
      Until I became a rescuer of a certain breed, I always adopted from the SPCA

    • One litter a year, so basically each bitch is perpetually going into heat, breeding, giving birth and nursing… doesn’t seem like much of a life to me. It’s not a human right to get a dog, but breed, breed, breed, let’s get ’em out there. Look smwhere else, but I’m trying to keep up!!

  4. I’m a long time volunteer at the Spokane Humane Society in eastern Washington state. We continue to see high adoption rates despite the restrictions of limited numbers in the building at a time, masks, etc. The return rate has not seem a increase. I hope it continues and we see the pets staying in their homes.

  5. We consider ourselves lucky to have our two. We lost our two older dogs within 3 weeks of one another. To say we were devastated is a huge understatement. We started scouring shelters and rescue groups and were turned down by each and every one (even though each and every one said we had one of the best vet recommendations they’d ever heard) because we were “too old” (I’m 65, my husband is 71). We were looking for young adults (1 to 5 years of age). We finally decided that if we wanted any dogs, we’d have to go to a breeder. We ended up with a maltipoo (never in a million years did I think I’d own a “designer” dog) and we got her because someone else decided they wanted to wait because she was the “wrong” color so she became available, even though this breeder has a long waiting list she chose us to get her puppy. We also got a little Havanese because our vet had an “in” with the breeder (she takes care of all his dogs and assured us he was a great breeder). Always thought I’d adopt instead of shop, but I shopped and I have no complaints. And these two little ones are not going anywhere.

    • i appreciate your viewpoint. We have two senior dogs at the moment and in all likelihood we will be 70ish when the younger one passes. I anticipate a challenge when I am seeking another dog due to our ages. Doesn’t matter that we are physically active and healthy. Think I will be fostering senior dogs.

    • I ran into this problem when my parents were in their 70s and wanted to get a dog. Maybe a century ago the “young family with children” was ideal; Dad worked, Mom was home with the kids and after school they’d all play in the yard. But that isn’t now. Both parents work. The kids might have after school programs in lieu of daycare, and when they get home they watch TV or are on the computer.

      My parents are active seniors. They own their home, have a large fenced in yard and nothing but time to train and walk the dog. My sister and I finally got them a puppy by lying, saying it was for my sister and she brought her 18 year old son with her. That puppy was perfect. She was trained, walked, and spoiled. That dog never had a better life and lived to be almost 14. That’s pretty good for a labrador mix. When she died they were devastated. My Mother had always said no more dogs after her. But within 3 months she said she wanted another dog. I tried for months to find a young dog already house trained and not too big. But they kept narrowing the field. The dogs got younger and bigger. Pretty soon we ended up at the Labrador rescue I adopted my dog from. They aren’t fussy about age, just that my parents are active and there is a yard for the dog and it will be trained. There’s a refundable deposit for that. So my parents got a puppy at age 90. Best thing that could have happened to them. She snuggle with my Mom on the sofa, my Dad walks her twice a day, she goes next door to play with the “three amigos” that live there or they come over to my parent’s yard and they even let her snuggle with them in the bed. I take Dolly with me when I take Diana pawPrints to the dog park. She did grow to be a slim 60 lbs, which is bigger than I wanted for them, but she has given them a new life. Their lives revolve around that dog and I am sure she is keeping them alive and active. I really hate the ageism prejudice around puppy and dog adoptions.

      I will be getting Dolly when both of my parents have passed. My Mother laughs and says they are just fostering her until she comes to me. If I go, my nephew will get Diana pawPrints. Likewise if my sister dies, one of her sons will take the dog. Once adopted, none of our dogs leave the family. It’s a commitment we accept from the beginning of the search.

    • Wow. My experience sounds the same as yours. We have had Miniature Schnauzers since 1972. Most came from family homes that were not professional breeders. One we “rescued” from a pet shop back in the early 80’s. Another we got from a family who found him abandoned in their neighborhood. They were unable to find his owners (suspected he was stolen) and did not want to turn him in to a shelter. After we lost our beloved “pet shop” Schnauzer from cancer at age 14-1/2, I started looking at Miniature Schnauzer rescues, other animal rescues as well as our local shelter and as far as a 100 mile radius, pet finder, etc. Many refused to consider us because of our ages (70’s & 80’s). After 3 years, I finally started researching reputable breeders and found one over 3 hrs. away from our home. Last January we brought our Greta home. I should also mention that I was willing to adopt a mixed breed terrier from rescues and shelters. I periodically am on the lookout to adopt a terrier mixed breed if I can.

  6. I am on the board of our small local shelter and adoptions have been brisk since the pandemic started. We have not seen an increase in owner turn-ins, fortunately.
    My husband are in our 70s, but after having younger dogs that grew old with us, we now seem to specialize in taking the older dogs into our home. It is very satisfying, making sure their final years are spent in a loving and comfortable home.

  7. During this pandemic year there is a huge shortage of TRAINING for the new families. Dog training clubs have had to shut down and businesses have had to reduce class sizes or number of classes to follow COVID protocols. New dog owners were left without the knowledge, support and encouragement they so desperately need. My clubs near Chicago are opening again and hope that all the new dog families will come to build bonds and learn how to train positively with love and incentives. Dogs who are not trained are not the family members they can and should be.

      • I agree with that there is a lack of training facilities. I’ve seen at least 6 “new” dogs on my street and the owners don’t have any control of them. It’s either that, or they don’t know what dog “manners” are.
        The breed chat lists I’m on are receiving more and more questions on how to train, how to socialize, how to use a crate – the whole gambit. But there are huge numbers of people who either don’t know or don’t care how their dog behaves. Many think it’s cute when their dog comes yapping at a bigger dog that could kill the little one with one snap of his jaws. Then, guess who gets blamed, particularly if the little dog grabs the bigger dog’s leg of body.
        When I walk on our street, I have to hold my dog very close when I see another dog because he is very reactive if the dog coming toward us is barking and pulling to come over. He takes that behaviour as aggression and reacts in kind. He is fine if the other dog is polite. He always lived in a pack and knows dog talk.
        Dog parks are other dangerous places to take a new dog or puppy. Mostly owners are all chatting and drinking their coffee while the dogs “play”. Often they are not playing; a bigger dog may be seriously bullying anther dog and the bullied dog may be killed or ruined for life because the owner did not watch and take control when the behaviour started.

    • Agree! We lost our oldest girl. And a new girl join us bringing some vitality to our remaining doggie. I have never found it this hard to get into a puppy class. Its kinda crazy.

    • Our local humane society went online and offers several classes for puppies and dogs, kittens and cats online. You can Zoom in live or review the lesson online at a later date. The trainers are also available for questions and extra help online. While it may not be ideal it is better than nothing.

  8. If the number of adoptions increased, then it’s normal to see an increase in returns, because a certain percentage of returns always happens. Beyond that, you might expect a small increase in the *percentage* of returns, since the pandemic may have induced people who normally aren’t fit dog owners to give adoption a try, which is a noble effort on their part. If some of them turn out not to be able to handle it, I think it’s only fair to give them a break. I mean, global pandemic and all, right?

    A reporter interviewed me looking for a story about how our schools might be woefully unprepared for distance learning, and after talking to a bunch of us parents, realized that the schools are trying so, so hard and it’s just that we’re in a pandemic and everything is beyond challenging. (The teachers I know are working twice as hard this year.) The article ended up being about how everyone in the school environment is coping as best they can.

    I bet that the outcome of this pandemic, as far as abandoned dogs is concerned, is that this will net out to be the year that the fewest dogs were euthanized, and the most love was spread to new owners (even if some of them give the pets back). And with the waiting lists for dogs currently, I bet even some of the returns might be adopted quickly.

    A news angle might be to try to get these isolated people *trained* properly during our seclusion, so that they don’t end up with an unworkable situation. That is, without in-person dog obedience school, how can we reach people electronically so that they raise their pet responsibly? Just a thought.

  9. I am not a shelter volunteer, but we did adopt a pandemic (adolescent) pup as soon as we were directed to shelter in place. It has been nearly a year, and despite my best efforts to “socialize” him, I suspect he will forever remain somewhat environmentally sensitive. I don’t know how much was nature vs. nurture, and I have no plans to return him (dogs are family), but I fear we are just seeing the beginning of what may be a wave of dogs that will forever require social distancing.

    • My dog that I adopted in July has had and is still having issues with socializing, cause we haven’t been able to do hardly any socializing with him. This virus time has hurt.

  10. I volunteer at a shelter in Kitsap, Washington and while we’re starting to see transfers pick up again as COVID restrictions ease, I haven’t seen a larger number of pets being returned.

  11. I have to say I’ve been trying to adopt a puppy I live in PA about 15 minutes outside Allentown and sadly my experience with rescues have been horrible and disappointing to say the least. They say that they want the best homes for dogs and then when they have someone who has applied that has all the right requirements and more they ignore you or never respond or respond once the puppy you had your hopes up over is gone or they are just totally unfriendly and abrasive. I am a long time pitbull and pitbull mix owner I had them well before the new fad started and everyone wants one just to get rid of them once they aren’t puppies anymore or the even worse people who have to breed them because they want a puppy from their dog!!! As* holes! I’m a dog groomer I hear it every day” I want my dog to have sex just once” . I literally had a customer ask me if I knew anyone who would breed their dog with his because his dog was dying from lymphoma and he wanted a puppy. You can’t make this stuff up. But I own my own home with 3acres a partially fenced yard over never turned a dog over to a shelter in all my 20+ yrs of owning one. I work as a dog groomer so my dog can go to work with me. I’ve spent lots of money tens of thousands to care for my dogs who all four have had different forms of cancer. The dog would have an incredible life and these recipes are so cliquie that if you aren’t someone who knows someone or they want to adopt to you for so e reason they skip over you every time. I know three people( who are more than qualified to adopt) in recent months who have gone and bought puppies from breeders or so called breeders after trying to adopt from different rescues with no luck. I’m now finding myself that I will end up doing the same thing to get a puppy even though I swore I’d never buy one. Hard to believe that I can’t find a pitbull puppy to adopt..the most thrown a way dog in america!!! Shame on all these rescues…I know they do it for the animals that’s great but maybe treat the humans with some of the same care you treat the dogs with. I’ve had my heart broken now multiple times by finding a puppy and getting my hopes up just to be crushed . If the adoption process they go by worked so well then why are so many dogs now being returned? Maybe it’s not working all that well!

    • Unfortunately I have heard the same story about shelters dismissing potential adopters for reasons that are pure bunk.
      For anyone looking for a dog or puppy, there are breed rescues of all breeds and there are shelters for all dogs. If you want a specific breed, go to their rescue. You may adopt someone else’s problem but you may be knowledge enough to overcome it. People turn in dogs for a number of reasons: they don’t like the colour; it sheds; it’s strong; it pees on the floor; they can’t afford the vet bills or even feed the dog now; their child is allergic to the dog or just doesn’t like him; they just wanted it for a while and now want a new one; they think animals are disposable. The saddest of all is when the owner dies and no one in the family wants the dog. I had one that was 12 years old I adopted from rescue because her owners died. She was heartbroken and died two weeks after I got her. She was just too old to handle her new situation.

    • I volunteer with a breed rescue and while it might not be the case with your breed, we average 40 individuals on our waiting list. At one time we averaged 60-80 intakes a year. Last year it was less than 20. Most of the list is looking for a young female or a puppy. We seldom have a puppy surrendered, maybe one under the age of one every three years. I fostered an eleven month old girl two years ago and she was placed with someone I had never met before but on paper and after talking to the family they were a great match. Nearly none of our dogs are returned and typically when it happens it is due to a family issue and not with the dog. I believe that is because we match the dog to the person, not with who is next on a list. Most rescues are all volunteer and they work hard to save as many dogs as possible.

      Maybe the issue is that you are only willing to adopt a pit bull puppy because there are 8 adult pit bulls in our local shelter right now and they need homes too.

    • If you could, the So Cal Shelters and rescues and shelters have an abundance (sadly), of pit bulls. You might check a few. Also, there is a rehoming way to adopt directly from a family who must relinquish their dog due to loss of job, moving, etc. There is no cost, whatsoever. It’s called “Home-to-Home,” rescuing.

    • I know this comment is a bit old, but I live in Philadelphia PA, and if you don’t mind traveling a lil bit you should check out Animal Care and Control in Philly. That’s where I got my pitbull mix from just this past August. She wasn’t a puppy, but they have so many pitbulls/pittie mixs come through there I’m sure if you keep checking their website you’d find a puppy. ACC isn’t picky like so many rescues are. In fact they could probably stand to be a little bit more picky, if only to ensure a good home for the dogs.

      The Woman’s Humane Society in Bucks County also tends to have pittie mixes available and if I’m remembering correctly I do believe they sometimes get in older pittie mix puppies. I’ve known people that have adopted from them and I’ve been told they also don’t seem to be as picky as the rescue orgs. However, don’t expect a prompt reply from them. I know when I inquired with them they took close to a week to get back to me.

      It’s a shame how many good dog owners end up going to breeders because they become frustrated by the lack of response of the rescue orgs or because they just get turned down by rescue after rescue. It’s a real problem.

  12. I work at a non-profit shelter in the Bay Area, and we do rescue work with rural central valley shelters in the state. Many municipal shelters have actually stopped their intake or become more restrictive which has led to lower intake numbers overall. It does not mean people are not trying to surrender, it just means shelters are telling people hold on to your animals or if you find a stray, leave it where you found it. For my own shelter, I cannot say for sure the number of surrender applications is up, but the reasons are most often moving, restrictive housing, can’t afford, or don’t have time which is often par for the course. However, we have seen an uptick in people who adopted puppies early pandemic and are now surrendering under socialized dogs.

    The most glaring shift right now is how many people are desperate to still adopt puppies during this time. Small dogs and puppies are flying out of our shelter, hence our assistance with the rural shelters. The COVID restrictions are slowing down adoption processes everywhere so people assume there are not puppies and dogs to save which I think is going to become dangerous rhetoric.

  13. I am a dog owner and breeder very small time always making the dogs health my first concern. but it took forever for me to be able to get a dog because the shelters in my area every time I contact them the dogs are all spoken for I applied for several rescues and was turned down because I don’t have a gate on my driveway despite the fact that people adopt dogs into condos so they have often no outdoor space and can only walk the dogs! I finally gave up and got a purebred got into a community where I was introduced to a very responsible well respected Breeder and got another one from her and I have now started breeding. I have four dogs and four more coming this year what are you doing for people like me that constantly get turned down by rescues and yes I am in the older age group now so I know that that’s another reason that I’ve been turned down. My first litter should be in about two months and I’m very excited and getting very educated dedicating the area for the whelping box and getting my emergency veterinarian information at hand and I will be extremely responsible and I hope to help people who have I had no success at rescues or who simply love the breed that I am choosing to live with and breed and it doesn’t matter if this becomes making a living for me I do it because I love the dogs and I actually want to improve the breed. I have always been around horses and dogs so it’s my passion not a way to make a bunch of money. that being said I intend on being an extremely responsible educated Breeder and I’m getting mentored by various individuals. I do see a huge demand in our area for dogs and I know that there is some fear that people will change their mind when they go back to work so I am going to the vett my owners very carefully before they get a puppy from me and a friend of mine who volunteers at rescues is going to help me too because that’s part of her job at the rescue is doing home visits and vetting new owners. I have heard no issues in our area about an abundance of returned animals quite the opposite it seems that the demand just keeps growing! I should mention that my plan is also to donate a percentage of the price of the puppies that I sell to shelters and rescues. I think we can be partners in ensuring the dogs get good homes and the dogs who should be spayed and neutered get that done. we should work together not against each other.

  14. Nancy, this is certainly a loaded topic. So many contributing factors. As a veterinary nurse of 20 yrs and a rescue advocate and volunteer I see and understand all the expressed points of view above. One issue I believe will be coming is separation anxiety once people return to their past life, meaning busy and not at home nearly as much. These animals have had humans around all the time. When they are left alone it may trigger different behavior and anxieties. This will create new challenges for pet parents. When puppies reach around 1 year and haven’t had much training the energy and demand, along with the lack of training can drive people to give up, they get frustrated. They are home now allowing them to maybe deal with it but again when not home the negative behaviors may increase and drive people to relinquish. Training is critical. I have seen many new pet parents decide their kids need a dog, and I have seen the issues from this scenario. Parents shouldn’t get a pet if it is only for their kids, as clearly they serve a big role in the care and responsibility. Lastly, there is a bonding period since we are home a lot, I believe this is in favor of keeping their pet (especially if they have committed to over a year plus)-but frustrated pet parents will need support and solutions…and training, socializing. Behaviors are affected during Covid, and people will need education and training for their pets. This resource will be hard to find, or limited. There will be some pets surrendered due to Covid financial stress or living situations, but I am more concerned that it will be more because of behavior challenges that lie ahead. In the SF Bay Area, there has been an explosion of adoptions. People didn’t get dogs because they weren’t home enough…ok, what happens next when our world opens up again–there will be issues that is a given.

  15. I am a veterinarian, Retired, and I was worried about the same thing, that people who adopted puppies during the pandemic, were going to dump them once they returned to work.

    Thankfully, it seems people are able to maintain their flexible work schedule or continue working from home for now.

    Last week, I was contacted by a woman who purchased a golden retriever puppy from a pet store in New York City. She had never owned a dog, and in fact was bitten by a dog as a young child, so she was somewhat frightened of dogs in general. She purchased a golden retriever for her three girls, with their agreement that they would take care of the puppy. You can imagine what happened next. The mother was left to care for the dog and was completely overwhelmed with the puppy antics, shedding and effort required. So, she was looking for a new home for the 8 month old un-spayed and possibly pregnant dog. ( the bitch came into heat and escaped from the backyard) The owner wanted to rehome the dog and recoup the $3400 she paid for it!

    I am actively seeking my next therapy dog. I usually adopt middle aged dogs from shelters who have the affiliative temperament that the job requires. They can be completely untrained, I can work on that, but they must be solidly socialized and not shy/fearful. It has been impossible to find the temperament I need. I remain hopeful that the right dog will come along.

  16. Julie, If you are willing to travel, Tioga County and Lycoming County in PA have a lot of pit bull mixes at any given time. I donate to them, but have not dealt with them for an adoption, so I don’t know about their attitudes.

  17. Dogs are family. My husband and I have had dogs for almost 50 years. We took my mom’s dog in when she could no longer take care of her post stroke. We’ve purchased dogs from breeders and gotten dogs from owners looking to re-home their dogs. Soon to be in our 70s, we know their will be difficulty in getting a rescue. We plan on fostering or adopting senior dogs. Will also need smaller dogs as it’s getting difficult to lift our senior dog into our vehicles. I thought I would see an uptick in returned dogs.

  18. This has been a fascinating discussion. My life with dogs started with chasing after my stepfather’s hunting dogs and continued with buying from breeders (excellent dogs), adopting from rescues, working for 13 years at a pound/humane society where I did everything and was their first adoption coordinator, teaching puppy kindergarten, fostering for rescues, doing home visits (a fence without a gate is not a fence) and calling references (when the vet says Who? there is a problem). Now that I can be termed elderly and my last English Setter died of an inoperable cancer I knew an older dog was the right course and contacted Southwest ES Rescue and was the subject of a very complete and totally correct investigation. Now I have a nine year old with few problems and an excellent disposition. And a new gate. A wonderful dog for me.

    The result of all this is that people are people and vary wildly. You are the advocate for the dog and your job is to find that dog the best home you can. You must also treat people decently and fairly and listen to them. Always be honest and available to discuss the dog for his sake and the adopters. Rules are there for a good reason and while sometimes may be lifted that should be rare. Patience is indeed a virtue.

  19. Here’s another aspect of pandemic puppy ownership that’s been troubling me. Our city (San Francisco) has been inundated with puppies and newly rescued dogs. The problem is that many of the adopters have never had a dog before, and either don’t understand or haven’t bothered with training. There are more “Lost Dog” signs posted locally on telephone poles and online than I’ve seen in years. Most of them are for dogs who are under one year of age. I’ve noticed that a number of new owners are letting new puppies off leash with no recall training. Some of these puppies are prey-driven breeds like spaniels and pointers who think nothing of running into the street after a squirrel or bird. Again, the number of “Lost Dog” postings are increasing and that concerns me.

  20. I have been wondering about dog(s) returned or rehomed. Just because a dog are not brought back/returned to a shelter where it was adopted (when the owner decided for whatever reason it is not a match), could it mean it was rehomed? How much data is there to support the number of dogs rehoming and not returned to the shelter/humane society?

  21. I, too, am having difficulty finding a new, small, companion dog. Rescues in LA are militant about vetting, and charge $350-$650 for their pups whether 2 moths or 6 years old…it’s a big business. LAAnimalservices, in it’s doubtful wisdom, has closed our West Valley Animal Shelter (due to “COVID/financial restraints,” which leaves a huge area devoid of services (although we’re still paying on a Bond F that taxpayers are still paying for). This means we only have one shelter for 232 Sq Miles. Their solution is for “finders,” to try and locate owners of lost dogs through social media sites. This doesn’t help the injured animals who now depend on good samaritans to drive 45 minutes through heavy traffic to take them to that one shelter, or pay out of their own pockets to take them to the nearest vet. Of course, the Director of Animal services won’t take a cut in her $300k salary to go towards reopening the West Valley Shelter! No wonder people look at our City as corrupt!

  22. I don’t think our shelters are getting animals back yet. It will be a few years down the road for many dogs that were adopted as puppies or young dogs. When they will be “too much work” or owners will be back to normal and the pandemic will be a memory. Then, when they are not as adoptable, and have issues, they will start coming back. I think it is a little too early to judge what will happen, kids are still doing remote learning and many adults are still working from home. And hardly anyone is traveling.
    Sadly, I think it will happen with other species also. Cats, guinea pigs, rabbits. All animals many think are low or no maintenance initially. Then they find they need a lot more care than they thought. So, they will start going back too. Sometimes I hate people…………………………….

  23. We have what many would describe as a pandemic puppy. Purely because of when she was born. I live in the UK and we went in to lockdown end of March 2020. Our pup was conceived early march. We had been on the breeders waiting list 5 years. She was a planned litter and purchase, though as s with anything we may have been still on the waiting list if more boys had bee born like her mum’s previous litter.

    I have fostered, dog walked and home checked for a UK animal charity, but have not seen an increase in rehoming. More often friends have gone and got pups from breeders. This is mainly due to the number of UK shelters that have very few dogs suitable for families with children under 10. This was the reason that we went on both the breed rescue wait list and that of a couple of breeders we got on with.

    I hope any dog returned after people have discovered they can not readapt their life finds a loving home.

  24. I’ve been trying to adopt through petfinders and adopt-a-dog but they never respond to my applications. I’ve got great references and vetting history and exceptional training skills. I even did stray rescue for 30 years. So it’s been a mystery to me until now why I’m never chosen. Could it be that I’m 71 years old? I’m in great health and am planning ahead for the care of all my pets as I age but — nope — I’m rejected. It’s so depressing!

    • When you’re on Petfinder or adopt a pet and thinking of applying for a dog, go to the rescues actual website and read their adoption policy first. I have discovered some rescues will not adopt a a dog to an older person if they think the dog has a possibility of outliving said person. Other rescues have it in their policy they will not adopt to anyone that doesn’t have a fenced in yard. And still others won’t adopt puppies to families with young children. Reading a rescue organizations adoption policy before you apply will often times tell you if you are wasting your time.

  25. I am a Regional Director for a nationwide rescue group that is breed specific and we have not seen an increase in returns since we saw an increase in adoptions or people fostering. I believe a key part of this is our group integrated into the screening process that very discussion with potential adopters in regards about plans should they be going back to work post pandemic. Additionally we have also seen a lack of dogs over all, which our hope is that with people staying and or working from home they have also found away to spend time with their furry friends. However only time will tell.

  26. working at a rescue group in chicago we have seen our share of adopters returning their dogs because the human level of anxiety produced by the needs of the animal (these were not special needs adoptions) were untenable post adoption. people are stretched really thin. it seems that for some this change in routine is the perfect green light to get the dog they had been wanting. for others the additional increase in stress and responsibility is more than they bargained for on top of everything else.

  27. I belong to an association in Barcelona (Spain) that rescues dogs, dogs that cannot be caught, many are greyhounds and hunting dogs, abused and abandoned in rural areas.

    Our main problem is in the little care that some shelters and adopters have when they have this type of dogs. Lately we have a rebound in lost dogs due to negligence on the part of these shelters and adopters. It is a serious issue and there is no way to stop it. It is a shame that the effort involved in capturing this type of dogs, which sometimes takes months, ends up escaped, lost and some died.

  28. At least they are not being killed like in Pakistan. I read articles about stray dogs being poisoned in Pakistan and being tied down and dragged behind vehicles. Can we do something about it? Those images have been haunting me in my dreams.

  29. Back in July/August of 2020, I was looking for a new dog at my local rescue organizations and shelters. I did eventually adopt a great dog from Philadelphia Animal Care and Control. But while I was looking I saw a high number of dogs that moved through the rescues and shelter listings very quickly. They’d be posted and gone very fast. I was surprised by how fast they were gone because I wasn’t looking at puppies or lil dogs which always seem to be in high demand, I was looking at larger dogs around 5 years and older. There were dogs I’d see posted and the day after they were posted I’d go to the shelter to see them or contact the rescue to inquire only to be told that the dog was no longer available. I don’t know if they were being transferred to other organizations out of the area or if they were adopted into families, but I hope they all have nice families.


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