Pet adoptions have increased during shelter-in-place


Isabelle Coburn

During quarantine, many people have been turning to their pets for entertainment and comfort.

During the coronavirus pandemic, something interesting has happened: animal adoption rates have increased. 

This adoption boom isn’t just happening in one or two states. In nearly every state, pets are being adopted from shelters at a startling rate. 

Since animal shelters are deemed essential, the process isn’t too complicated. Some shelters are even having adoption meetings using FaceTime or Zoom if potential adopters don’t want to leave their homes. This has made it possible for a growing number of  pets to be adopted with ease.

One animal shelter in Palm Beach County, Fla., is usually packed with animals but now is completely devoid of furry friends. It’s not alone. Shelters all over the U.S have reported an increase of adoptions over the past few months.

“It is a time when people are looking for comfort, continuity and something they can focus on other than the crazy news,” Sherri Franklin, founder of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco, told CNN.

With pet adoption rates so high, one might reasonably ask why everyone is adopting now. When everyone is in a state of confusion and fear, it’s only natural that some people would turn to an animal companion for comfort. 

People who are living alone may be feeling lonely right now, and a pet is the perfect distraction from everything else going on. Sometimes we all need a cat or a dog sitting near us during this quarantine.

Jill Prickett, who has two recent Cal High graduates, is one such person. She and her family became the proud adopters of a sweet, eight-week old Australian Shepherd they named Roo. 

“Yes, the shelter in place was the reason we got her,” Prickett said. “We were supposed to go on a trip to Greece, but it was cancelled because of the virus. So we got a puppy instead.”

While Prickett and her family have enjoyed the companionship of a puppy, the adoption came with some difficulties as well.

“She really helps with the mental stress of the virus and she is a great distraction from life’s challenging isolation,” Prickett continued. “The cons are that it’s difficult to get her to the vet, online puppy care is not the same as a trainer, and it’s harder for her to socialize with new people and dogs.”

As the pandemic has accelerated an increase in pet ownership in the US, it’s estimated that nearly 92 million households in the country will have at least one pet by the end of 2023, up from 85 million in 2018, according to CNN. 

“The shelter in place has made having a pet more interesting as we have to potty train him while staying inside our home,” said Vanessa von Sosen, whose family adopted a German Shepard Husky mix puppy named Toby on May 4.

“The pandemic did influence the decision because we are home all the time so we figured it would be the perfect time to take care of a puppy,” she said. “He’s so fun to be around and super sweet so it’s totally worth it.”