The rate of pets being returned to shelters is much lower than normal because it appears that pet owners are going all out to look after their furry companions in spite of pandemic complications, says an animal-shelter official.
Nancy Millar, a senior animal-services officer of the New Westminster Animal Shelter, said that since the pandemic hit, the rate of pets being turned in is roughly 80 per cent less than before. The B.C. SPCA has been seeing a similar trend starting around April 2020, even though there’s been a boom of people stuck working from home adopting pets.
“Because everybody was working from home, or unemployed, they are at home with this time on their hands. There is nothing better than sitting next to your cat. You just want a companion,” said Millar.
Millar’s biggest concern previously had been that owners might end up turning back their companions once they go back to work and whether people will have the income required to look after their pets.
But that hasn’t occurred yet at the shelters.
And, if the experiences of two local pet owners are common, that won’t be happening.
No sacrifice is too much for two pet owners
Derek Williams owns two dogs and taking care of them had never been an issue until the pandemic hit.
Williams is still working full-time at home for a small advertising agency around Metrotown, but his salary has been reduced, making it difficult to pay for all his expenses while looking after his pets.
He is in love with this Labrador retriever and golden retriever to the extent that he is willing to balance his budget by switching his phone plan, reduce buying, and stop dining out to cover the costs of pet food and veterinary bills for his two pets.
“I take money from anywhere. I will eat oatmeal every morning if I have to. I love my boys,” said Williams.
Tome Zhao is a graduate who studied film at BCIT. He is currently working part-time as a courier for SkipTheDishes Delivery, as COVID-19 makes it hard for most people to find a stable and well-paid position.
He says, that raising Midas, a goldendoodle, is one of his proudest accomplishments and the pandemic is not going to stop him.
“He likes to chill with the people he loves. I feel good about Midas. It gives me responsibility in life and it gets my life going,” said Zhao.
Zhao plans to never leave Midas and he commits to walking him twice a day, a 20-minute walk sometime during the day, and a quick five-minute walk before he goes to bed.