Many shelters have had people return animals they adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic, HuffPost reported. The early steps of the pandemic were rife with dog adoption stories and many shelters said they didn’t have enough dogs to meet demand. Now, some dogs are being left behind as life returns to normal.

Aron Jones, executive director of Moms and Mutts Colorado Rescue (MAMCO), told HuffPost that her group has experienced, “an unprecedented number of returns” in recent weeks. “The majority of adopters use the ‘I no longer have time’ excuse while others claim they can no longer ‘handle’ their dog,” Jones said.

Many shelters added questionnaires to include pre and post-covid behavior questions, but some people are still surrendering their dogs. If that’s the case, shelter employees are encouraging people to take their dogs to a shelter, instead of abandoning or trying to sell the pet online.

“We would much rather pet owners do the responsible thing of contacting a rescue center than putting a pet’s welfare at risk by selling it online or abandoning it somewhere,” said Rob Young, the head of center operations at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London in HuffPost. “We aren’t ever here to judge people for the reasons behind giving up their pet.”

Other shelters are encouraging people to train their dogs and providing help for the transition back into the office full-time and as people move into a different routine post-vaccination.

“By now, many people have undoubtedly discovered the secret reality of what dogs and cats really do all day. Whether there are people around or not, they mostly sleep, with a bit of eating and playing mixed in ― all things that they can do just as easily without human companionship,” said Holly Sizemore, the chief mission officer at animal welfare group Best Friends Animal Society.

Rewarding your dog for individual play, testing time apart with walks, or setting them up with a solo play area can go a long way in transitioning a pet into a life where they’re home alone more often shared Erin Katribe, medical director of Best Friends Animal Society. And don’t forget to play with your dog when you are home. Giving them attention and adjusting them to a new routine will help you both.

We encourage everyone thinking of getting a pet to adopt instead of shop. Read more resources about adopting animals on One Green Planet, including 7 Reasons to Adopt Your Next Furry Best Friend, 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Adopt a Pet, and These Heartwarming Before and After Pictures of Adopted Rescue Animals Will Make Your Day! Read tips for pet adoptions and what to consider before adopting an animal. We recommend using these apps to find shelter dogs near you!

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