With an influx of work-from-home days and isolation periods during the COVID-19 pandemic, many in Lethbridge are enjoying the company of their furry friends more than usual.
Local shelter Windy City Canine Rescue is encouraging people who may have been considering dog adoption to act on it now.
The shelter said the extended time at home gives an excellent adjustment and training period for new pets, and provides the owner a chance to bond that they might not normally have.
“We think it’s an ideal time,” said Danielle Payne, event and volunteer co-ordinator of Windy City Canine Rescue, on Tuesday.
“Just because you are at home, you can get to know your dog and make sure that the dog is settling in with your home routines and things like that. Unfortunately for us, we have closed our adoptions right now to help prevent the spread of everything, but there are still rescues who are looking to adopt out.”
Dr. Stephanie Bodnarchuk of Coaldale Pet Clinic said while adoption intentions can be good, potential pet owners should be aware of how much time and money goes into taking care of their new friend.
“Make sure that you have a plan in place for expenses,” Bodnarchuk said.
“If work is short, you need to make sure that if anything were to happen to this pet, vet bills aren’t going to be an issue. Make sure that when you are back at work, this pet isn’t going to be sitting in a crate 12 hours a day.”
She said there are other options for those looking to pitch in with rescues in the short term.
“Fostering would be a really nice option, if that’s something that you’re able to do,” Bodnarchuk said.
“It gets the pets out of the shelters and it limits the amount of people that have to go into the shelter to do work.”
The clinic is also advising pet owners and potential ones to be prepared with a month’s worth of food and treats, waste disposal items like kitty litter and your pet’s medications, which can include flea and heartworm preventatives.
It recommends designating an emergency caregiver for your pet and a care plan that outlines exactly what your critter needs each day in case you become ill.
“I mean, don’t go buying every supply you can have, but don’t get down to your last scoop of food,” clarified Bodnarchuk.
While furry friends can be a source of comfort during a stressful time, both the shelter and clinic said it is important to build and maintain routines for pets new and old because they are sensitive to changes and easily pick up on their owners’ stress levels.
“Just be patient,” Payne said.
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“Your pets don’t really know what’s going on. Your pets can also sense that you’re not OK.”