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Animal adoptions during COVID-19
Photo courtesy: Denver Animal Shelter

By Joseph Rios

The pandemic has been trying times for all of us, but there have been some reasons to smile at animal shelters throughout the Denver metro area.

After the Denver Animal Shelter was forced to close for over two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it reopened on May 26 and saw hundreds of residents show up to adopt a new pet. Other organizations like Animal Rescue of the Rockies, a nonprofit based in Aurora that works to provide an alternative to shelter environments, helped 1,201 pets find a forever home from January until July.

Statistics from the Shelter Animals Count show that the percentage of available animals that were adopted rose from 51 percent last year to 58 percent this year.

So, why has there been an uptick in animal adoptions? The reason may be because a lot of residents are staying at home now.

Cody Smith, a Westminster native, has been forced to work from home the past six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently adopted a four-month year old Pitbull named Charlie who he says has been a great companion to him while he sits at home on Zoom meetings all day.

“These are anxious times, without a doubt. It can get lonely sitting at home all the time without face to face human interaction,” said Smith. “Charlie has been able to make these times less lonely and more enjoyable. He’s really made my life better.”

The Good Dog Rescue, a Westminster based nonprofit, said that not only are residents wanting to adopt its dogs – they are also wanting to become foster parents as well, according to Angela Rodenburg, director of marketing for the Good Dog Rescue.

Barbara Casey, a volunteer for the Good Dog Rescue, said she has fostered three dogs since the pandemic started in March. She said she enjoys fostering dogs because it gives them another chance at having a good life.

“Some human somewhere along the way let them down. When they come out of a shelter, they are stressed out,” said Casey. “When they are in a home, they can relax and (show) their true personality. You can then see what kind of dog they are and what kind of home they do best in.”

Although some Colorado organizations have reported an increase in animal adoptions, PetPoint, a data management software, estimates that there was a 22 percent national decrease in dog adoptions in July of 2020. According to PetPoint, 32,474 dogs were adopted nationwide in July. Cat adoptions were also down 15.9 percent in July of this year, in comparison to 2019.

Despite the nationwide decrease in pet adoptions, another number is trending in the right way for animals – dog surrenders. PetPoint reported that dog surrenders are down by around 24 percent this year.

“Adopting my dog has been the best thing to happen to me this year, without a doubt,” said Smith.





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