The pandemic is helping lead dogs to their forever homes at SPCA

A new dog up for adoption at the Alaska SPCA Adoption Center, 6-month-old Milo from rural Alaska.
A new dog up for adoption at the Alaska SPCA Adoption Center, 6-month-old Milo from rural Alaska.(Taylor Clark)
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 7:00 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic was over a year ago. For many families in Alaska, the upside to the resulting shut downs and shifts to working at home led to a lot more dogs getting adopted.

At SPCA Alaska’s Adoption Center in Anchorage, management is reporting that the trend hasn’t really stopped.

Adoption Center Manager Aimee Everett said they’ve been busy finding forever homes for animals this whole time. At this point in the pandemic, she said the organization is still sending more dogs out of the adoption center than it’s taking in. Even with their small space with seven dog kennels, she said they’ve still been averaging about 10 adoptions a month.

“That’s the great thing. You’re never gonna run out of people who want dogs because, I mean, they are the best thing that can happen to someone,” Everett said.

However, that wasn’t the story for every single animal that was adopted in the last year. While the pandemic did put a lot of people at home, it’s hard to forget all the hard times brought on by the lockdowns, which are still very much a factor for a lot of people.

Everett said a few animals found themselves back after pandemic-related situations — lost jobs, full households or moving in with parents, to name a few examples. However, it’s only a select few dogs that have found themselves back at the Adoption Center.

“We’ve been very lucky to not see a lot of familiar faces, although we definitely do love to get updates and things like that from pet parents,” Everett said. “We have had a couple dogs and a couple cats come back for pandemic-related reasons. You know, people losing their jobs, things like that. Or, you know, just not being able to keep up with it.”

Still, Everett is pleased to report that more dogs are finding homes than losing them at their facility these days.

Everett said that she hasn’t had many trouble with taking back dogs because they aren’t socialized due to the quarantine lifestyle of the early pandemic days. However, she has certainly heard about that issue in other shelters.

“The big thing for people to realize when adopting during the pandemic is to make sure that they are socializing where they can, safely,” she said.

Her advice on safe socialization at this point in the pandemic is to get dogs outside for a walk at Alaska’s many hiking trails and dog parks so they can learn to be out and about without raising risk of transferring the virus between people.

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