New pets adopted during the pandemic must now learn to be alone as owners return to work

Many people adopted a new pet during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns as a way of having companionship during their time at home. But now that many are returning to work and school, some families are now realizing that they got in over their heads.

News 12 Staff

May 20, 2021, 9:34 PM

Updated 1,095 days ago

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Many people adopted a new pet during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns as a way of having companionship during their time at home. But now that many are returning to work and school, some families are now realizing that they got in over their heads.
“Our adoptions were amazing. It was great. Lots of people came out and adopted and took home animals,” says St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center vice president of operations Tiffany Barrow.
But there is a fear that some families will seek to give up their pets now that they won’t be home as much.
Most animal shelters in New Jersey have not seen a rash of families returning their pets – and they would like to keep it that way.
“We did a lot of adoption counseling at the time of adoption, talking to them about having a pet and what it entails,” Barrow says.
But animal shelters have noticed a different pandemic-related pet problem – separation anxiety. Pets who have spent most of their lives surrounded by people must now learn to be alone.
May the Pomeranian was brought home just as the lockdown started last year and has spent months surrounded by her family.
“We would like for her to be trained and know the rules when we all go out and back into the real world,” says Gordana Harris of Westfield.
May is enrolled in “Puppy Kindergarten” at St. Hubert’s, learning to be alone and behave in public. The shelter is providing as much help as it can to keep the pets at home where they belong.
St. Hubert’s is also offering assistance to pet owners who are struggling financially by organizing a pet food pantry, free or low-cost medical care and temporary boarding.


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