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Lethbridge sees surge in abandoned, surrendered pets as adoption numbers rise

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 pandemic prompts some to adopt a pet, while others forced to give them up' COVID-19 pandemic prompts some to adopt a pet, while others forced to give them up
As people continue to spend more time at home, the thought of adopting a furry companion has become more appealing for some. Taz Dhaliwal has more on how pet adoptions and surrenders are going across the city – Nov 24, 2020

After Kirstin Butler’s seven-year-old dog, Valentine, died this past July when the family had to put her down, they were terribly gutted by the loss.

As the family loves caring for dogs, they decided to adopt a rescue two months later to help bring some much-needed cheer back into their lives.

“They’re honestly the most loyal dogs, we have no idea what they’ve gone through, and she’s honestly the best dog ever,” said Butler.

“She follows me around everywhere and you can just tell she’s so grateful, like every meal she gets, you can tell she’s grateful,” she added.

Kirstin Butler shares her adoption story as this year her family welcomed two new rescues into their home. Kirstin Butler

The family decided to adopt a dog that was slightly older, since it can be easier for puppies to find homes sometimes.

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In August, they found a sweet two-year-old husky named Hazel from the Almost Home Canine Rescue YYC group.

When Hazel first arrived at the rescue shelter, she came with a litter of puppies she had given birth to. Her puppies all found homes to go to.

Butler said since Hazel was accustomed to being around other dogs they decided to adopt another pet a month later.

They then rescued a Cane Corso mixed puppy they named Opie, Butler says the dogs have been inseparable ever since and they are both very content in their new forever home.

Read more: Should you adopt a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Lethbridge Humane Society is seeing an uptick in adoptions during the pandemic, and it’s also seeing people take the process more seriously.

“Now that we’re doing it [on an] appointment base, we’re seeing more quality adoptions,” said Ella White, a long-term volunteer with the Lethbridge Humane Society.
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“Pretty much, everyone that does come in ends up filling out a form to adopt something, whereas before we had a lot of people coming and looking who weren’t deciding,” White went on to say.

She adds people returning their pets has not been a frequent occurrence.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case at the Last Chance Cat Ranch in Lethbridge.

“Well, we’ve had a good interest in adoptions, however, it’s been one of the worst years for people calling us about homeless cats that have been abandoned and owners that have surrendered them for whatever reasons,” said Elizabeth Ginn, founder of the Last Chance Cat Ranch.

“It goes anywhere on the spectrum from just had a baby to moving and just can’t afford to keep them anymore,” Ginn said.

Ginn, who founded the cat ranch nearly 20 years ago, said the organization is also in need of more volunteers and funding as the pandemic has put a big strain on their resources.

Read more: Lethbridge animal rescue encourages interested quarantiners to adopt

When it comes to dog training, Amanda Labadie, owner of Many Muddy Paws Dog training, has been very busy and says her customers are doing their homework.

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“I’m seeing lots of people making better decisions on what type of dog to get, which shows me they’re doing their research, which is really great because a good match goes a long way for both the dog and people,” Labadie said.

“So, even with training people are asking great questions,” she added.

Labadie goes on to say dogs are experiencing more separation anxiety as their owners are spending more time at home this year and says trying to leave pets home alone for some period every day is helpful.

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