It may be the best thing to come out of 2020! The animal shelters in the Washington area are experiencing a rare and unique occurrence... the amount of dogs available for adoption is increasingly limited! Thanks to the mess of 2020 and everyone pretty much forced to stay at home for a majority of the year, people turned to adoption as a source of comfort and meaning.
Cindy Sharpley, founder, and director of Last Chance Animal Rescue, a nonprofit animal shelter in Waldorf, had this to say about the rare phenomenon, "We thought people would stop adopting because they would need to conserve their money, but that hasn't happened. It's been just the opposite. They're going like hotcakes. We can hardly keep them in stock."
Another animal shelter, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Arlington said it's expecting to end 2020 by helping around 3,385 pets find their forever home! The year prior, they were about to help about 1,800 find homes. Shelter Animals Count, which runs a database and is able to track all the shelter and rescue activities reported that 26,000 more pet adoptions in 2020 than the year before. This number comes from about 500 rescue organizations across the country.
There has been such a demand for animals, that shelters across the country simply do not have enough animals to keep up with this increasing demand.
Mirah Horowitz, executive director of Lucky Dog, had to make some changes to keep up with the demand, and that meant moving the operation online! Horowitz told Washington Post, "Anyone who felt like, 'I can't adopt an animal because I'm at work all day' is now finding they're at home. People want a pet for companionship and to give kids a sense of responsibility and a playmate."
Here are a few people who adopted during these uncertain times and their new forever soulmates:
Story via Washington Post
Meet Kimberly Ross! She put in at least 8 applications for a dog and were dreams came through with Humane Rescue Alliance contacted her two weeks later. She was first introduced to Steedle, a mini pinscher mix, on a Zoom call.
Ross told the Washington Post, "She was cute, and I could see she was nice. Normally we'd be running to tutoring or basketball. We don't have our normal activities, so we have more time at home to care for her."
Meet Daryl Pendleton, who wanted a dog for years and it wasn't until the pandemic struck that he considered it more seriously. He adopted a 4-year-old poodle-maltese mix named Gus, from Lucky Dog animal rescue in Arlington.
Pendleton told Washington Post, "For me, the pandemic was the perfect time to get a dog because I had more time now to spend with him. He's a part of my family."
Meet Ray Ferrara! Ferrara adopted Carson, an 8-month-old lab mix, back in the Fall of 2020.
Ferrara tells Washington Post, "Right now my schedule is very flexible, and I found myself having a lot of time so I could train him and take him on playdates. I'm not sure pre-covid if I would have committed to that."
Meet Alexandra Jeszeck! Jeszeck adopted 1-year-old Wally, a German shepherd mic back in October of 2020. When Jeszeck officially returns to work, she plans to telework at least two days a week to spend time with Wally.
And while it is a large fear of animal rescue operators that animals adopted during the pandemic will be returned once life returns to normal, officials are advising new pet owners to prepare themselves, and their adopted pet, for the realities of "normal life."
Bonus image: Actor Jonah Hill recently adopted a three-year-old pitbull named Fig, who was abandoned at a rural shelter during the holiday season. Luckily, she found her forever home with Hill soon afterwards.
Jonah Hill expressed his gratitude on Instagram, "Thank you so much @loveleorescue you gave me a massive gift and I appreciate you and the work you and your foster parent volunteers do. "