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Pandemic Pets- the good and bad about getting a pet right now.



We were quoted for an article, which just came out on Crosscut.com asking what the effects of the pandemic were in regard to pet adoption and care.


There are both some amazing upsides, and some really big difficulties.


One amazing thing is how many animals are being adopted. The rates are much higher than ever before.


For example in an average year, Motley Zoo was adopting out about 350 animals annually. But last year in 2020, that number jumped to 456.


We didn't even know we could reach numbers like that!


Now for some downsides.


That kind of demand is really impossible to keep up with when it comes to most organizations which are primarily volunteer run.


In usual times, we probably had about 5 applicants per animal and since COVID hit, it's a minimum of 10 and very likely more, especially for puppies and kittens.


It's taking longer to get through applications, there aren't enough people willing to do them- and those that are are doing them all the time and still drowning in the work.


And these are people just like you, who are doing this "for fun" in their spare time, unpaid...it is not easy- and we seriously can't thank them enough because they are the gatekeepers for our organization.


Which also puts them in the crosshairs of often angry, impatient and downright rude people who just want a pet now.


While we can appreciate their enthusiasm, there is a wait everywhere.


It doesn't matter which shelter or rescue- or even if you sadly, feel you must buy a dog- you are going to wait...so please, just understand that it the case...


And really, it should be to make sure you have the right pet suited for you.


You didn't find your spouse or partner in one day- nor the house or apartment you love either...it is commonly understood with these things that it is going to be a process, but with animals, it seems to be the last thing people can understand.


And while pets have been- and still are dying (in some places)- in shelters, there still has to be some semblance of order. Some kind of time and attention to vetting and training. Some kind of attention to matching you with the right pet- so the adoption experience is a good one, rather than heartbreaking.


This is why working with a rescue like Motley Zoo is absolutely advantageous, because we won't let you go home with the wrong pet- and we hope that people can understand and appreciate that value alone is worth the wait in the end.


The other downside for getting a pet right now is vet care. The waits are long and vets are overwhelmed.


The industry had already had a staffing shortage before the pandemic- and now it's even harder with COVID related issues. There are just more pets than ever- and less people to do it...which includes emergency rooms and specialists.


If you need vet care for something typical like vaccines or spaying and neutering, make the appointment ahead of time- because you will be lucky to get in within a week or two.


The other downside of all of this is costs. Prices are rising and cost of veterinary care is now more than ever- at the same time as many people are really struggling to keep their jobs, homes and families together.


COVID is creating a greater divide between those that can afford their pets and those that just can't- and it seems the animal welfare industry's role may be changing because of it.


During COVID it was clear that keeping pets in homes was the priority- and that may continue, especially if vet care remains costly and hard to come by. Of course if people can't access spay and neuter services because of that, then the entire overpopulation problem could start all over again too!


It is a strange place to be right now in animal welfare- and for the most part, it's really great for the animals. But will this increased demand drop off? Will the pendulum start to swing the other way, with people abandoning animals- either for cost of care or because they go back to work?


Motley Zoo exists to support the animals in whatever ways they need- and our true niche is animals that have no one else and are harder to adopt.


No matter what is going on elsewhere that will continue to be true...so we don't see our mission changing too much any time soon. But the battles we face in our system may change significantly- which is really hard to imagine sometimes.


We'd always love to think that we could be out of a job someday- and that no animals will ever need saving- but really, it's the reasons for the animals needing help that will change...and we certainly hope that is for the better, overall!


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