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As The Pandemic Situation Changes, Allowing More And More To Return To The Office, What Becomes Of The Pandemic Pets They Adopted?

By: Jason Morton

By Jason Ray Morton Published 3 years ago 3 min read
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AN ESTIMATED 23 MILLION PETS WERE ADOPTED IN 2020

So, if you're like me, then the pandemic last year caught you off guard. Covid-19 brought about changes to all of our lives. It also brought about uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. We all had to learn something new last year, some way to live through the worst year in modern history and the first massive public health crisis in the United States.

As much as I tried, Covid-19 got to me at times. Being a solitary type, with a small circle of social companions, we were all cut off by the unknowns of covid. We met in homes occasionally, but even that was few and far between, as people tried to go on in an odd time of life. Along with the pandemic, I had decided to leave my career to find something that made me happy. Unfortunately, I did the latter before I knew anything about what the world was going to be like in just another two months. With all the life changes that I was already dealing with, my son moved out of the house. Then our long-time family pet passed away, after nearly twenty-five years of being a part of our home.

Like the 23 million others that adopted a pet during the pandemic, in November of last year, as winter began to set in and much of my life was still out of reach due to the Covid-19 virus. I considered adopting another pet for a while. That's where I found our cat, Hawkeye. Hawkeye, a chatty little, black, kitten with traits of a Balinese, pawed my leg in the kennel filled with other cats. He was about six months old and had been in the shelter for two of his six months, the runt of the bunch, and obviously wanted to be with humans. So, imagine my surprise when I read that shelters are experiencing a rise in returns of pets, mostly adopted last year during the worst of the pandemic.

"Pandemic Puppies" is an adorable name for the furry little critters that were adopted last year. They are now being returned to shelters around Illinois as well as the country. Private, non-profit shelters and county-run shelters are reporting sharp upticks in abandoned pets.

Jane Kahman is the manager of the Humane Society of Central Illinois and reports that county-run shelters all over the area have seen a spike in returned pandemic pets. In Central Illinois, the branch has received nearly 500 animals so far in 2021. Some of the owners have explained that they can't care for the pet because they are heading back to the office.

The Knox County Humane Society director, Erin Burmeister, is reporting that they are full as well, but are taking a proactive approach to getting people to adopt by using their Facebook page.

During Covid, the number of pets entering shelters fell quite a bit. This year the numbers are on the rise, but not as high as they've been in previous years.

-They were there for you during the pandemic. Now it is time for you to be there for them.

Erin Buckmaster-Advantage News Interview

Since the worst of the pandemic has gone behind us, millions have been vaccinated, offices have begun moving staff back to the office, and people are seeing the disappearance of unemployment funds, people have begun relinquishing their pets. Many have reported to the shelters that they have to return to work now and can no longer care for the animals. Their faithful companions that helped them get through the loneliest of years are being abandoned. As the number of people turning their pets over to shelters continues to rise, it hasn't yet hit the numbers seen in particularly bad years, but this is only August.

As I read about how several shelters in Central Illinois report a rise in pets being relinquished, I'm saddened to think about the future of these little creatures. My little buddy will certainly not be going anywhere. Sure, I'm working more now than during the worst of the pandemic, as vaccinations around my area of the state have allowed greater movement leading up to the Delta variant. After almost a year with Hawkeye, I couldn't imagine having to let him go for any reason.

Sometimes, while working from home he makes a point to visit me and see what I'm doing.

If you enjoyed this story please consider letting me know by clicking on the heart icon below. Also, as this is independently published, its reach is largely decided by the readers. I'd be honored to hear it was shared on social media.

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About the Creator

Jason Ray Morton

I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. I have enjoyed the current state of science, human progress, fantasy and existence and write about them when I can.

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