In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a boom in dog adoption, according to Calgary Animal Rescues. But now, two years later, some of these rescue organizations are seeing increasing numbers of dogs abandoned by their owners.
“We definitely see, based on the age of these dogs that … are being abandoned, that it’s that two-year-old mark,” said Brad Nichol of the Calgary Humane Society.
“So, you know, anecdotally, there’s probably a correlation there with the dogs that were impulsively purchased at the start of the pandemic and the return to real life.”
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The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society said it has also seen an increase in the number of abandoned dogs.
“Our teams receive requests every day,” said Rachel Cote of AARCS.
“When you look at the first quarter of 2021 versus 2022, what we’ve really seen is that the number of applications (to abandon dogs) has doubled.”
Along with a growing number of surrenders, animal rescues are also seeing adoptions slow.
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Cote said she knows the decision to rehome a pet was a tough one, and while there are a variety of factors, there are two main reasons owners say they give up on their pets.
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“The first is behavior. Maybe they were adopted during COVID – they missed that critical socialization period. We’re seeing fear…separation anxiety, and it’s just not possible to stay in their home,” Côté said.
“The second reason is that we know there are a lot of people who have to make difficult financial decisions for their families, and we know that ultimately a very expensive vet bill could make or break their paycheck. .”
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The AARCS currently has over 200 dogs in Calgary and Edmonton in their care for various reasons.
The Calgary Humane Society is undergoing renovations, so it is also full, but can only accommodate about half of its normal capacity.
As Calgary animal agencies look to find new families for dogs to adopt, they also want to make sure their new home is forever.
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