When the pandemic hit and lockdowns were implemented, many people decided to adopt a new pet. There were many reasons why people chose to adopt at this time including having a pet to keep them company while not being able to visit with family and friends and having the time to spend with a new pet. Rescues and shelters adopted out many pets during this time even while maintaining strict procedures around close contact that were mandated by the pandemic.
One of the worries that animal shelters had was that post pandemic there would be a large influx of pets that were no longer wanted. To date the anticipated increase of returns and surrenders to animal shelters has not occurred. Although the calls for pet surrenders have not increased, they still remain at a level that keeps many shelters at or over capacity on a regular basis.
As the pandemic lockdowns begin to ease some pets are not happy with the loss of having their human companion close to hand all the time. Behaviour issues, such as separation anxiety, are to be expected with the return to in person work schedules for many people. You can help to prepare your pet for being left alone for prolonged periods of times by starting to leave the pet alone for short periods of time and gradually increasing the amount of time they are left alone before your anticipated return to work. Other tactics to keep your pets occupied and happier when left alone is to provide them with different toys that you change out on a regular basis to prevent them from getting bored or arranging for a friend or family member to visit with your pet while you are at work
Pet ownership can be challenging at times, but it can also be very rewarding. The change in your schedule may be stressful for your pet but the negative effects can be reduced when you plan ahead. Pets are a long term commitment that requires adjustments from time to time to ensure that the needs of you and your pet are met just like any other relationship in our lives.
If you did not adopt a pet during the pandemic but are considering adoption in the future you may want to think about contacting a local shelter or animal rescue and inquire about becoming a foster home for pets awaiting their forever home. Fostering a pet will help to know if you are truly ready to become a pet owner in the future with all of the financial and emotional responsibility that pet ownership comes with.