Demand for dogs has shot up during lockdown as potential pet owners look to get a new furry friend, but one UK animal charity is asking people to think about whether they are ready for the commitment.
Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, said a recent spike in interest in dogs could result in a wave of abandoned pooches when unprepared new owners return to normal life after coronavirus lockdown measures end.
“This is the sad reality that often follows Christmas when people also get dogs on a whim,” said the charity in a press release.
Dogs Trust is known for its slogan, “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas,” but the charity will temporarily tweak it to read: “A dog is for life, not just for lockdown.”
Online searches for “buy a puppy” and “adopt a puppy” saw huge spikes after the UK announced lockdown measures on March 23, said the charity, which wants potential owners to do a quiz to see if they can handle a dog.
Questions test whether people can spend the time and money required to keep a happy dog, as well as going for walks in all weather types and completely changing their schedule.
Owners are also asked if they are willing “to be chief pooper scooper” and “to learn the language of your dog so you can give them everything they need.”
Owen Sharp, Dogs Trust chief executive, said that the aim was to remind people what a huge responsibility it is to own a pet.
“Like Christmas, when people are at home more, they might think now is the perfect time to get a dog,” said Sharp in the statement.
“For some people this will be the case, but we’re asking people to consider when the lockdown lifts how your life will need to change to accommodate your four-legged friend.”
There has also been a surge in dog adoptions in the US.
Last month, a Florida kennel that is normally packed with stray and abandoned dogs was filled instead with cheering staff and volunteers because all of the animals found new homes.
And Foster Dogs Inc., a New York-based nonprofit that connects animal rescue organizations with adopters and fosters, saw a more than 1,000% increase in foster applications in March in the New York area compared with the same month in 2019.