As Life Returns to Normal, Will the Uptick in Pet Adoptions Become an Uptick in Returns?

Stay at home orders and increased isolation due to the coronavirus have led to an increase in pet adoption and fostering nationwide, and Corvallis is no different. Both the Corvallis Heartland Humane Society and the local branch of Savin’ Juice Dog Rescue have reported an uptick in pet adoption.  

Owning a pet can have many health benefits due to the bond that pet owners form with their companion. This helps with loneliness and depression, and encourages owners to go out and get more exercise for the sake of their pet. It can also lead to a reduction in stress and an increase in happiness.  

However, Emily James, the Resource Development Director at Heartland Humane says there is some concern that new pet owners will struggle to adapt to life with their pet after COVID-19.  

She explains that though they have a questionnaire that seeks to match a pet owner’s lifestyle to a pet, sometimes people will return a pet. While Heartland does accept pet returns, James states that their goal is to ensure the best life possible for animals and hopes that life will include a forever home.  

Kristina Lopez the Adoption and Outreach Coordinator of Savin’ Juice Dog Rescue expressed similar feelings. She explained that, “There is the positive of having some dedicated time to train and help the new dog get adapted, but life is going to eventually be what it was before this pandemic and if there wasn’t time then, there most likely won’t be time after. We talk about this with applicants and have had some realize it wasn’t the right time [to adopt].” 

Lopez said they usually have a very low return rate with their adoption, and have not seen an increase, which she believes is due to the conversations they have with applicants before adoption takes place. She encourages all people looking to adopt to look at the future and to know that a dog’s needs do not decrease with time.  

Savin’ Juice Dog Rescue also has a fostering option if adoption doesn’t seem like a good fit at this time.  

“Fostering is a wonderful thing. Good rescue [organizations] will provide all supplies, vet care, and training support for you and your foster dog to succeed.  If you have extended periods of time at home and would like to provide a loving home for a dog in need, we and other rescues are always looking,” she says. “Because our foster program is set ‘until adoption’ we remind fosters that even the cutest puppies and dogs can sometimes sit a month or two before being adopted.  My advice would be to ensure that you can meet the foster commitment until adoption before signing up or sign up to provide temp coverage for permanent fosters need back up.” 

For all new pet owners, the transition between being at home all the time with your pet and going back to a regular work week will bring new challenges, but Lopez encourages owners to prepare ahead of time.  

“Our biggest advice has been to create a time away from dogs each day to avoid separation anxiety when you do return to work or school,” she said. “It is very easy to get comfortable being home all the time and having your dog by your side, but that routine is one they will get used to and possibly depend on.  Setting them up for success means creating some separation each day in their crate or by leaving them home while you go on a walk.”   

James also suggests that people check in with their workplace to see what their pet policy is, as some places have become more lenient. If that doesn’t work out, she recommends taking a look at local daycares, pet sitters, or dog walking services.  

By Hannah Ramsey