Two doggy daycares in Calgary say they are overwhelmed with puppies and dogs as their owners return to a physical office, after getting 24/7 attention during a global pandemic.
Hailey Seidel says her business, The Petropolitan in the core, is busier than it has ever been.
"We have been bursting at the seams all summer," Seidel told the Calgary Eyeopener.
"Obviously our hotel was really busy as restrictions lifted and we saw people returning anxiously to travel. We are anticipating record numbers in our daycare for sure."
Meanwhile, Natalie Ulaszonek, a manager and groomer at Marda Loop Doggie Daycare & Spa, echoes Seidel's experience.
"Our doggy daycare and grooming section are both busier than they have ever been. A lot of people staying home wanted companionship so a lot of people got a dog," Ulaszonek said.
"Now that people are starting to go back to work they need a place for their pup to hang out and socialize. Our daycare and grooming is just extraordinarily busy at the moment."
The term separation anxiety comes up a lot in these situations, but for the dog or the owner?
"I think it's a little bit of both. Once your dog gets in the door, your dog generally settles in really well," Seidel said.
"It can be one of the most anxious, nerve-racking parts of their day when they are feeding off their owner's energy in the lobby, when the owner is both excited and a little bit nervous."
Separation anxiety is very much on the radar of the Calgary Humane Society's communications manager.
"It's wise to start leaving the house for short intervals to begin with," Jessica Bohrson told CBC News in an phone interview.
"That might mean just going out the door for a minute and coming back in. Then build that up to five minutes, then 10 minutes, to half an hour. When you come back in, don't show a great deal of excitement. You just want the animal to get used to you leaving and coming back, for it to be a normal thing and not something they dread."
This training works best if you start early, maybe a couple of months in advance, she said.
"During the pandemic there were so many animals being adopted and getting attention 24/7 with their parents. Suddenly their humans are leaving, going back to work, so it's important to start doing that early."
'Extraordinarily busy at the moment'
The Petropolitan can accommodate about 150 dogs across all the services they offer.
"It's a record number of first-time dog owners," Seidel said.
"Lots of people in their 20s and early 30s purchasing their first pet as an adult. It's a lot different owning a pet right now than it was when our parents owned a dog growing up."
The industry as a whole is begging for staff.
"All groomers are hiring because we just can't deal with capacity and things like that during COVID," Ulaszonek said.
"A lot of dogs can't be in the dog parks, a lot aren't great on a leash. This is an open space where they can come and have fun. Somebody is always watching to make sure everybody is happy."
Keep it chill when you get home
Meanwhile, Calgary Humane's Bohrson says she can't stress enough about keeping things chill when you get home. Don't train your animal to miss you.
"They look forward to you coming back, so they may just sit at the door waiting and waiting and waiting. But if they know you are going to leave and they don't know when you are coming back, they might just go back and lay in their bed," Bohrson said.
"And that's what you want them to do."