Decline in available rescue dogs is sign of the times

Why shelter dogs are in short supply, and tips for success if you’re able to adopt your perfect pooch

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 11/25/20

If you’ve been thinking of adding a canine friend to your family lately you’ve no doubt noticed the downward trend in available shelter and rescue animals available. If you think COVID-19 and all …

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Decline in available rescue dogs is sign of the times

Why shelter dogs are in short supply, and tips for success if you’re able to adopt your perfect pooch

Posted

If you’ve been thinking of adding a canine friend to your family lately you’ve no doubt noticed the downward trend in available shelter and rescue animals available. If you think COVID-19 and all of the extra time people are spending at home, in many cases alone, is to blame, Georgia Cameron, Executive Director and Co-founder of Life is Better Rescue wants you to know you’re absolutely right.

Cameron, who’s been in her current position for the last 10 years said there’s a vacuum right now creating a situation where there’s barely enough animals available to foster or adopt. She says she understands the reason so many people have turned to pet adoption during these trying times.

“I think in the beginning (of COVID-19), one of the few things that people felt they had control over was reaching out to animal rescue organizations,” she said. “The coronavirus is different in so many ways because if prevents us from being together. People can’t do a lot of things they would normally do, and people have big hearts.”

Jenny Homan is Marketing and Community Engagement Manager for the Foothills Animal Shelter. Like Cameron, she’s seen the noticeable uptick in demand for pets. In her opinion Colorado’s shortage of shelter dogs can be partially attributed to the success the state has had with programs to spay and neuter animals in the past few years.

“Coloradans love dogs,” she said.

Luckily, Foothills has been able to transfer animals in from states like New Mexico and Arkansas where for whatever reason, a lot of animals still need new homes. Those animals too, are adopted out practically as soon as they arrive. Both Cameron and Homan agree it’s a good problem to have, and both said even with continuing financial difficulties many have faced during the pandemic, the rate of people returning dogs has remained as low as ever. Cameron does have a bit concern about what might happen when the pandemic ends and people can’t spend as much time at home.

“Eventually people will have to return to work and dogs will go through difficult transition,” she said. And she wonders if her rescue might see more returns when that happens, because of behavioral issues that may arise when dogs that are used to having their person around all day have to start coping with more alone-time. She suggests putting your dog in its kennel periodically, to get them more used to it, even if you’re not gong anywhere. And she recommends leaving your dog alone once in a while, to ease them into the transition, if you might be going back to work outside of the home.

Homan and Cameron agree that a couple of simple things can go a long way towards ensuring a successful pet adoption. The first is being honest with yourself about your habits and how much work you’re willing to put in to a new pet because even though a puppy might be on your wish list, they can be a lot more work and more demanding than an older dog that needs a home. The second tip for success is to educate yourself about breeds and the specific personality and behavioral traits of the animal you’re interested in adopting.

As for dealing with the shortage of adoptable pets, Cameron has one last tip.

“The best thing to do right now is get on fostering lists,” she said. “If you sign up to foster, you can see lists of animals coming into the system before they hit the websites. And it’s a great chance to try before you buy. Especially if you haven’t had a pet for a long time.” Both Foothills and Life is Better Rescue always accept donations from animal lovers who would like to help support the deserving animals they care for.

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