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Pandemic Dogs

No, People Are Not Returning Pandemic Dogs in Droves

Despite alarmist headlines, the happy truth is most people are keeping their
newly adopted pets, animal welfare groups say.

By Michael Levenson
May 22, 2021

Animal welfare advocates were delighted when the pandemic prompted thousands of bored and isolated Americans to adopt dogs last year.

They also worried that when offices reopened and social life began returning to normal, those new pet owners would cast aside their dogs, like children who had outgrown their teddy bears.

Despite some alarmist news reports, the story so far is much happier than that.

Shelter data and interviews with animal welfare experts point to a confirmed shift in pet ownership in the United States, as people bonded with their new animal companions during an incredibly stressful period.

Giving up their pets borders on the unthinkable for many. “No, no, never — not even crossing my mind,” said Danni McCarville, 55, an artist who lives in the mountains outside Trinidad, Colo., with her husband, a lawyer. They brought home Buck, a Colorado mountain dog, in December. “It’s like getting rid of a kid.”