Animal rescues

Some Waterloo Region animal rescues expect long-term adoption of pandemic-era changes

The increased demand for pets has put additional pressure on some Waterloo Region rescues amid the pandemic.
  • The increased demand for pets has put additional pressure on some Waterloo Region rescues amid the pandemic.

The increased demand for pets has put additional pressure on some Waterloo Region rescues amid the pandemic.

For some, this change has been frustrating and difficult, while others expect to keep COVID-19 era policies in place long after reopening.

As a foster rescue with dozens of homes dotted around Waterloo Region and neighboring Oxford County, Pound Dog Rescue has found the spike in interest both exciting and exhausting for its team of volunteers. .

“He just exploded,” said Kim Spitzig, co-founder of Pound Dog Rescue.

“We found that we would release a dog for adoption and very soon after that we had to put a stop to applications as we were getting an overwhelming amount of applications per dog.”

And they respond to each candidate – sometimes more than 100 for a single pup.

“It was a lot of stress for our Pound Dog team,” she said, estimating adoption requests have quadrupled during the pandemic.

We always have a very thorough vetting process of our candidates. It hasn’t changed the fact that our dogs are still going to very suitable and ideal homes…it just forces us to do a little more work to find those ideal homes.”

At The Humane Society of Kitchener-Waterloo and Stratford-Perth, their physical shelters have been mostly empty since March 2020, with most animals available for online adoptions while remaining in local foster homes.

It was a big change, but communications manager Anya Barradas says it worked so well that they plan to stick with it.

“We are still maintaining the same adoption process that we put in place at the start of COVID-19,” she said.

“With the pandemic, we’ve been trying to place as many of our animals in foster homes as possible, reduce the number of animals in our shelter, and give the animals the opportunity to have that one-on-one interaction,” Barradas says. “To be honest, we don’t see ourselves changing it for the foreseeable future.”

Unlike The Human Company, whose application process has seen little change, Pound Dog has tweaked its forms to address common interview questions, such as future vacations, training plans, and post-work routines. pandemic.

“We have adopted many more dogs in the last 18 months than we would have in a normal environment. That said, we did our due diligence to ensure that all of these adopted dogs went to families who were looking for actively a forever home for their dogs,” Spitzig said.

For future pet owners, this diligence and increased competition can become a test of patience.

Kitchener-based artist Monica Lalas waited about five years to bring home Italian greyhounds Icarus and Beesley.

“The dogs and I mingle like second nature,” she said, adding that she had done a lot of legwork – including moving jobs and apartments – before welcoming her “little clowns “.

“Treat the process like choosing a boyfriend/girlfriend,” Lalas said.

“Every dog ​​has their own unique needs and personality, and if you’re denied a certain dog, don’t take it too badly. It was for a reason. Sometimes it takes months or years to find a good fit. “

Lalas also helped her family adopt from a local rescue in November 2020. It took weeks, but it was worth it, she said.

“I’m grateful to the rescue team for selecting me because I felt confident that I had a dog that was a good fit for my family,” she said. “Rescue is there to help you find a suitable companion.”

Growing demand can make it harder to find the perfect pet for your family, but the Pound Dog Spitzig encourages dismayed dog lovers to keep trying.

“A lot of rescues are in our position where they just get way too many wonderful apps about one particular dog,” she said.

“There’s always another dog that needs a wonderful home.”

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With the Region of Waterloo now in Stage 3, we wanted to know if this would change things at local animal shelters and shelters.