Animal shelters in Saskatchewan say they are seeing an increase in people surrendering their pets and are encouraging potential new pet owners to open their doors.
Organizations in the province noticing an increase in surrendered and strayed animals include the Moose Jaw Humane Society, the New Hope Dog Rescue, and the Meadow Lake and District Humane Society.
The animal shelters are trying to help people understand the process of animal adoption, and the options available for people considering surrendering their pets.
Higher numbers post-pandemic
Shelters like the Moose Jaw Humane Society have noticed an increase in surrendered pets post-pandemic.
“They are returning to work, they’re getting transferred with their job, and their new job is going to require a lot of travel, we are hearing a lot of that,” said Dana Haukaas, executive director of Moose Jaw Humane Society.
Haukaas said people had more time to spend with their pets during the pandemic, but now that is no longer the case.
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Haukaas also said financial strain has led to some owners being unable to afford caring for their pet.
“Money is a little bit tighter for everybody,” she said. Some people are having to move into different housing and they aren’t always able to find housing that allows them to have a dog.”
Sandra Archibald, executive director of New Hope Dog Rescue in Saskatoon, echoed these statements.
Archibald said New Hope currently has 70 dogs in foster homes, the most she has ever seen, and there are still more waiting to be adopted.
“There’s 36, I believe, dogs up for adoption right now, with more coming up every week or every day of the week,” she said.
Archibald said that while many fosters are eager to take in animals while they await a forever home, the increase in numbers can be exhausting for some.
Some pet owners left with no other option
Susan Dickens had no other option but to look for a new home for her pets after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Dickens searched for the right home for months and was recently able to find a family willing to take her dogs once she dies.
Haukaas said people with terminal illnesses aren’t always able to find their pets homes, as Dickens was. She gave an example from six years, where a woman had adopted a dog from the animal shelter, but later on had to reconsider.
“When she knew that she was not going to get better, she brought the dog back to us because she trusted us to find him another home as close to as good as hers as we could,” Haukaas said.
Although animal shelters are happy to help find pets a new home, they encourage owners to consider other alternatives if possible.
“Take some time to learn. If you have a pet and you’re struggling, reach out and ask for help,” Archibald said. “Find a trainer, find your vet. There’s a lot of different things that can help and a lot of different people who want to.”