As the coronavirus pandemic of 2019 continued well into 2020 and 2021, rescuers, shelters, and breeders have collectively reported a significant rise in the sales and adoption of dogs in the United States of America. Being cornered into isolation in their homes, Americans have taken to seeking canine companionship in the loneliness of the pandemic-induced lockdown.
Taking a walk down memory lane, we all remember the Cabbage Patch Kids frenzy of 1985 or the Tickle Me Elmo craze of 1996 when the nation went into a consumerist frenzy that consumed the collective consciousness of the USA. However, in order to track these consumer behavioral patterns, one must always take stock of the socio-economic and political context of the times and then judge accordingly.
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Tess Karaskevicus, a school teacher hailing from Springfield has reported that at least five people from her social circles have adopted or bought a puppy in the last two years. Her own Boxer puppy, Koda, had recently just joined the family on May 28. She says that the experience has been nothing short of fulfilling as the pet parents have been arranging playdates for their pups while socially distancing among one another. This has been extremely successful in alleviating pandemic-induced depression among people.
This sudden sore in demand for adopting or buying puppies or dogs, started in mid-March and by July, it was a full-fledged bona fide sales boom, one unlike any seen by the country before.
Huge demand for canine pets was reported by shelters, nonprofit rescues, pet stores, or breeders who were coping to meet with this demand as the number of puppies that were there was significantly lower than the number of puppies that were demanded. Certain rescue houses have reported a high number of applications for individual dogs while several breeders have reported waiting lists that extend well into 2021. This sudden surge in the demand for dogs have three main reasons:
- Americans were stuck working from home with children who needed to be distracted.
- Americans ended up with no work and lots of free time at hand.
- A number of pet parents adopted dogs because they felt lonely with no way to socialize.
Adoption rate spiked at Adoption & Rescue Shelter
President Madeline Bernstein of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization shelter, has reported that their rates of adoption have doubled from the usual numbers with 10 to 13 dogs being adopted in a day. She says that while demand is at an all-time high, her inventory is running low, and such is the case with many other rescue shelters for dogs.
This demand continued as the second wave of the pandemic occurred. Bernstein said that those who adopted dogs during the first wave were mostly people who were helping in clearing out shelters before they were forced to shut down. However, she reported that months later a second group and type of adopters came forward.
Being unable to board airplanes, people have taken to planning staycations or road trips that are more amenable for dogs anyway. This is why and how adoption rates went higher up during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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On the other hand, pet adopters from New York City, who had fostered dogs from shelter temporarily at the beginning of this pandemic had ended up adopting these pooches permanently by the end of June. The foster-turned-adopter pet parents make up almost 10% of the dog-owning community in the USA. The NYC shelters have also reported a lower number of adopted pooches being returned. This is possibly due to all the policy changes that have been implemented by the shelters owing to the pandemic.
Advanced Bookings at Kennels
Not only shelters, but breeders also have reported an unusual spike in the number of dogs demanded by customers. This high business level continued well into midsummer. Hank Grossenbacher, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeder who owns the Heartland Sales auction in Cabool, Mo. where a number of commercially licensed breeders engage in the sale and purchase of dogs like living stock said that a lot of breeders were investing in puppies that could be raised as breeding age dogs while others have said that people have made advanced payments to book whole litters of puppies that were not even born then.
The CEO of Petland, a licensed operator of several pet stores in America, Joe Watson has said that the demand was especially high in the months of May and June in 2020 when an unbelievable rush of puppy adoption applications was witnessed by all the breeders that the company was in business with.
When Pandemic will be over
However, what happens when these adoptive pooch parents and their kids return to their work and school is left to see. These dogs will have to adapt to a whole new lifestyle, drastically different from the one they are leading now. Like many features of the Covid crisis, this too is uncharted territory. Just like no one was able to predict this pooch buying spree at the start of the pandemic, it is hard to determine what will happen to the dogs and pups at the end of it as well.
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