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Pet adoption in B.C. interest rises during COVID-19


Staying at home, alone or not, has many people looking into adopting a pet right now.

Earlier this month, the BC SPCA saw interest in adoption increase throughout the province after it held a half-price adoption event at their facilities.

Lorie Chortyk, spokesperson for BC SPCA, said they adopted out 300 animals during the five-day event and adoption numbers have remained high since.

 “We are making a special effort to adopt out as many animals as possible so we have capacity in our shelters to help (other) animals in most urgent need,” said Chortyk, adding that urgent needs include providing temporary care for pets of people affected by COVID-19 and those “fleeing inter-personal domestic violence.”

Kitty Tung, a Richmond teacher, has been looking to adopt a dog for a while, but the pandemic gave her the “push” to actually do it.

“Adopting a dog, especially a puppy, wouldn’t have worked out for me until the school year ended, but since the pandemic hit, I’ve started looking at different adoption organizations earlier than expected,” said Tung, adding that working from home right now would allow her to spend more time with the dog and to train it.

But while the timing is right for Tung, she’s faced more challenges than she would have expected.

“It’s actually harder than it seems to find the right dog for me to connect with during this pandemic. The ones I want to adopt are often not local, and I can’t visit the dog first before adopting,” she said, adding that the adoption fees are sometimes quite expensive.

Meanwhile, Alistair Clare, a long-time Richmond resident, is trying hard to avoid the temptation of getting a pet at this time.

“I thought it would be nice to help out an animal in need, but my work schedule prior to the pandemic didn’t allow time for me to be a pet owner,” said Clare.

“The times we’re living in now are temporary (and) if my work industry starts up again, I would have to leave my recently acquired pet, and that to me seems pretty cold.”

The BC SCPA is also stressing the need for potential pet owners to consider what’s involved in owning a pet over the long term.

“Even though we are promoting adoptions, all the usual adoption counselling takes place to ensure that people understand the responsibility they are taking on, now and when they transition back to their ‘normal’ lifestyle, and that the animal is a good match for them,” said Chortyk.