Pets News

COVID-19: Pet parenting in our pandemic period

Interest in dog ownership has soared in B.C. since the pandemic sent thousands of people home from work and school, animal advocates sayAuthor of the article:Randy ShorePublishing date:Sep 18, 2020  •   •  7 minute readB.C. SPCA Shuswap manager Victoria Olynik relaxes with a small dog who seems just a little wary of the camera. Animal advocates say if you do decide to adopt, take on a rescue animal whenever possible. Photo by B.C. SPCAArticle contentWhen Lisa Hutcheon rescues small animals, sometimes it’s a tiny hedgehog surrendered by an owner who didn’t realize they are only active at night.Other times, it might be dozens of rats taken from the home of someone who wasn’t entirely clear on the value of birth control.Interest in pet ownership has soared since the pandemic sent thousands of people home from work and school, people who were suddenly awash in time previously spent commuting, animal advocates say. The loneliness that comes with a life spent hunkered down against the threat of contagion surely played a role.The BCSPCA has seen up to 200 applications for a single puppy in recent months and the competition for pets rescued from other countries is almost as stiff.While there are no official figures, Paws for Hope puts the number of foreign arrivals at about 5,000 a year.The situation for unconventional species is even more complicated, especially since the pandemic tossed a spanner into the apparatus of small animal adoption.This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article content continuedVolunteers for the Small Animal Rescue Society of B.C. are currently housing more than 90 rabbits, 150 fancy and domestic rats and an ever-changing assortment of hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, chinchillas and mice.“People often don’t keep these animals for more than six months or a year,” said Hutcheon, the society’s president. “We got more than 90 rats last week and 50 the week before, and we are seeing so many people who are trying to get rid of guinea pigs and hedgehogs.”The pandemic has put a stop to their usual fundraising events and halted face-to-face adoption meetings. That has left volunteers caring for dozens of small animals and short of cash to do the job.These rescuers take great care to ensure that the potential pet parents are suited to the animals they are adopting and especially that their miniature mammal friends aren’t being acquired as reptile food. That’s just not cool, people.“We do home visits to make sure there aren’t 50 boa constrictors in the house,” she said. “But since March we’ve been really limited in what we can do.”Maria Rosa is a volunteer with the Small Animal Rescue Society who has
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