The pandemic pet: Yukon shelters see rising adoption rates

·2 min read

It's been a busy few months for the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter in Whitehorse. In the last month alone, 15 dogs and cats have been adopted out.

"This whole pandemic, people are more isolated, we're not allowed to socialize as freely. There's loneliness, and animals are wonderful companions ... they fill a big gap in your home," said Shelley Williamson, the shelter's executive director.

"And it gives you someone to cuddle up with."

Williamson said the shelter has been fortunate to be able to keep up with the demand for pet adoptions. She says they still have dogs that need loving homes.

Submitted by Shelley Williamson
Submitted by Shelley Williamson

Some shelters have seen an increase in "animal surrenders," she said, because some people are finding it difficult to support a pet during the pandemic.

Just like the shelter, the Yukon Animal Rescue Network has been busy adopting out pets.

"Many folks have wanted to adopt this year, partly because they are stuck at home and want entertainment — which causes more work for me to make sure that dogs will not be abandoned or neglected when folks are back to work," said Cheryl McGrath, the operator of the non-profit organization.

Submitted by: Shelley Williamson
Submitted by: Shelley Williamson

Matthew Lien recently adopted a puppy. He says it is a significant commitment and not to be taken lightly.

"You know, they're not just some adopted cute little puppy, you got to be aware of the time commitment. It's going to be involved. You got to be aware of many, many years of that commitment," he said.

Lien said the puppy has grounded both him and his son.

Submitted by Matthew Lien
Submitted by Matthew Lien

"There is a greater sense with Ethan, my son. He's 11. And there's that feeling of isolation, you don't get to connect and be involved in sports as much, it's just less interaction, even now," Lein said.

"Every morning, [Ethan] wakes up with his puppy and it's just — it's a real source of positivity in the home."

Submitted by: Shelley Williamson
Submitted by: Shelley Williamson