Does the surge in pet adoptions during pre-lockdown and lockdown period hint at a large scale pet-abandon spree when the coronavirus crisis ends?
We humans are selfish in every way we can be with the worst part being our disagreement with the fact that we are. Not long before the start of the Coronavirus lockdown, we saw many pet owners (yes, owners – that is the word for those who simply own a pet and don’t love it) abandoning their pet dogs an cats on the streets, tying them up to trees and poles just because they thought that pet animals could spread the Coronavirus, once they were infected.
We cannot blame them entirely for such an idiotic behavior as it was driven by a lot of irresponsible and viewership-hungry local media channels and papers that simply thrive on Whatsapp and Facebook, who did best to present or produce half baked and misleading articles and stories in the initial days of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Nevertheless, it is was up to the pet owners to research a bit online and take a decision. They did take one and it was easy – take the pet out, abandon it and come back victorious!
While some pet owners had been abandoning their pets, there were people who had been trying to buy or adopt pets. As a result of which, many pets had found homes during the lockdown and will continue to get the love they receive now.
However, people had been through an emotional turmoil and still continue to do so and many of their actions could have been driven by circumstances, rather than genuine feelings.
There is a high possibility that many new pet owners too would have bought or adopted pets owing to such reasons.
Let’s see how things look for the some new pets post lockdown period.
Why was there a surge in pet purchases and adoptions during the coronavirus lockdown?
This doesn’t need any explaining but just to be on the same page – people were purchasing or adopting pet dogs and cats to seek emotional support, to kill their boredom, to be more Instagram or TikTok worthy (the Chinese virus that infected people around the world even before Coronavirus did) or to show how humane they were by adopting street dogs and cats.
Kapil Malhotra, pet parent and animal lover, who also runs a pet food store called The Bark Treat, shares, “We don’t sell pets here as we have never liked the idea of selling pets in the first place. Adoption is the best way to bring home a pet because anything you buy tends to carry along a sense of ownership and authority, something that doesn’t make a good recipe for love. However, ever since the beginning of the lockdown, we have had so many requests from people wanting to buy pets, especially dogs, desperately.”
The reason driving a majority of all pet buying requests sounds ridiculous enough.
Kapil shares further, “It is surprising to see that so many people have suddenly become desperate to buy pets but the most surprising part has been when people we know, who are not at all into pets or those whom we can identify as not so pet-loving people, have been following up to buy pets, especially dogs. When asked why they actually want to buy a pet, most of them fumble for the right words, explaining how pet loving they actually are.’
Also read: Don’t keep a pet before reading this
A rise in hasty and pick-from-the-street adoptions
There has been a substantial rise in legal yet hasty pet adoptions and pick-from-the-streets adoptions, with the latter gaining momentum – you just locate a stray puppy and pick it up and come home! Easy, isn’t it?
One scroll down social media pages will tell you how it has become one of the ‘trends’ during the lockdown.
Now there are genuine people and pet lovers doing their best and we honour their efforts and also wish them luck in their endeavours. However, for others we have nothing to say but this– you are simply adding to the spam score online!
Adoption is the best way to bring home a pet because anything you buy tends to carry along a sense of ownership and authority, something that doesn’t make a good recipe for love.
Why pets will get ignored or abandoned after the lockdown ends
Well, to begin with, at the present moment, most of the people have been buying or adopting pets for their own comfort and convenience. They have been bored, lonely, struggling with low morale and depression.
Many new pet owners had been seeking momentary affection and not a long term companionship
Many psychologists assert that some of the new pet owners have simply been seeking momentary affection as they have been finding it difficult to connect with their families even when together.
Mrs. Mishra, a psychologist, shares, “The coronavirus lockdown has forced families to spend more time in the same house but not all of them can get along that well and that’s where a pat comes in the picture.”
“There have been ongoing feuds and sour relationships even before the lockdown had come into place and during the lockdown some people had been getting all the more lonely and desperate. Hence, keeping a pet at home has been a major relief for such individuals,” Mishra adds.
It is not an unknown fact that pets are the best kind of loving distraction that people can have.
“A pet dog or cat has all the qualities of positive companionship that can help people keep things in perspective. It has not majorly been out of their love for pets but just for some lively, comforting and assuring companionship,” Mishra adds further.
The coronavirus lockdown has forced families to spend more time in the same house but not all of them can get along that well and that’s when a pet comes in the picture
Once back to their regular lives, pet owners may not need pets anymore
Post coronavirus lockdown, when people will be allowed to get back to their lives fully and not under restrictions, pets will be seeking company and comfort.
Once people get on with their work and social lives, pets, especially new pets, will be exposed to sudden ignorance, lack of time and love (ok, we think that means ignorance), next to none activity, being sold to another pet seeker, or worse, to be abandoned on the streets.
Now this may sound too hypothetical but it is the truth. Even before the advent of the Coronavirus crisis people were hardly finding time for their families and pets. All they cared about or found time for existed outside the four walls of their homes and even when at home, their lives revolved around their mobile phones and the made-to-feel-real world of social platforms.
Now they may call it anything – work pressure, personal issues, social commitments and other such things but the fact remains that they had never found enough time for anyone let alone their pets. It is such inability that has led to the thriving business of ‘dog walkers’ around the world.
Once back to the real things like jobs, socializing and personal lives, do you think that pet owners will have any time for their pets?
If you think they will, then you are mistaken. At best, they will not abandon their pets but will surely struggle to spare time for their lockdown partners or completely forget that they have pets at home.
Some street dogs adopted now may face imminent abandoning
The worse may come for street dogs who have been adopted and taken home during the Coronavirus crisis. These street dogs may be enjoying their lives in the comforts of the four walls of their owners (yes, owners) for now but with the lockdown being relaxed a lot now and with future relaxations coming in, they may find themselves neglected or back on the streets again.
Though they may still find some attention and care from those who may have grown fond of them, but still decide to send them back to the streets again. They will still be fed by their former owners and others like before but the abandoning will do the damage.
Pet owners have already started abandoning their lockdown-pets
We are sad to share that many of the new pet owners have already started to get back to reality and are either reselling their pets, putting them up for adoption or are simply abandoning them without any thought.
Our network of pet lovers and pet shops (food and accessories) have already started receiving requests for resale and adoption of pets bought or adopted in the early days of the lockdown. We have been hearing about pet owners abandoning their pets and very recently, witnessed a well off family drive up to a park in our locality, abandon their pet dog and drive away.
Let’s hope ‘new pet owners’ don’t forget their pets once the lockdown gets lifted completely
Now, we may be totally wrong about it (but we are right to some extent) and hope that people don’t forget their comfort partners once they are free to live like they did before the crisis.
Remember one thing, if any of you neglects, sells off or abandons a pet then you will always be in need of real companionship and comfort for not honouring the love and true companionship of your pet!