But What About the Animals? (Post-COVID)
We have now reached the one-year anniversary of the shutdown of society as we responded to the threat of COVID-19. However, the future is looking very bright. After a devastating holiday season with huge spikes in infections and deaths, Los Angeles County has now entered the Red Tier and is moving to reopen parts of society. Vaccines are being produced and distributed as fast as possible, and it is anticipated that by this summer we will have turned the corner and begin to see more opportunities for life to return to normal.
In anticipation of the ability for pet owners to return to the workplace, many people have expressed their concerns to me regarding what will happen to all the pets that were adopted during the pandemic. They fear that these were impulse adoptions and the owners will surrender them to animal care centers or otherwise give them away.
I do not share this concern. One of the remarkable results of the last year has been our awareness of the importance that pets play in our lives. I believe pet owners will continue the love and devotion they showed this past year, being especially grateful for the companionship their pets provided to them as they were isolated from friends and family.
In fact, a new report by Kinship Partners reveals how devoted pet owners are to their companions. Just consider these findings from the pet parents that were surveyed:
- 62% said their top priority is their pets’ happiness
- 71% could not have survived 2020 without their pet(s)
- 80% said their pets deserve more of their time in 2021
- 82% said they plan to spoil their pets in 2021
- 84% said COVID-19 showed them how much their pets improve their lives
- 90% have built a stronger bond with their pet through 2020
You can read the full report here: (Report).
COVID brought changes to my pet household as well. We sadly learned that our beloved Bernese Mountain Dog Lucy, who we had adopted seven years ago from the Agoura Animal Care Center, had untreatable cancer. I am so glad that I had the isolation time to be able to spend every moment with Lucy for the last five months of her life. Although I worked full time, it was from home with Lucy by my side. She received countless belly rubs, hugs, and kisses and we were able to monitor her closely to make sure she was comfortable. As her appetite waned, we prepared special homecooked meals for her and made sure her every need was met.
When Lucy passed, there was a huge void in our home. Although we still had Dino, an eight-year old Great Pyrenees (adopted from Great Pyrenees Rescue of Southern California), and Rebecca, a 10-year old Golden Retriever (adopted from the Lancaster Animal Care Center), something was missing. It was the exuberance of Lucy – although she was nine years old, she still acted like a puppy. So, we reached out to Great Pyrenees rescue again and found our new love – Holly. Holly was 16 months old when she joined the pack and has added new energy and antics to the household. A bit of a juvenile delinquent at the beginning, she has learned the rules of the house (no counter surfing or stealing drains from the yard) and we have benefited from the isolation period to make sure she has been well acclimated. She has made fast friends with Dino and Rebecca and is a delight.
I am fortunate that when it is safe to return to the office, I can bring my dogs with me (one of the benefits of working in animal welfare). All the dogs love this and visiting with their human and canine coworkers.
However, most people can’t take their dogs to work with them. If you are planning to return to work and want to get your pets accustomed to your absence, check out this blog I wrote with advice on transitioning to your new work schedule: https://animalcare.lacounty.gov/returning-to-the-workplace/
What about the animals? Whether they come to an outside workplace with you or not, it is clear that new pet parents are devoted to their furry companions. I think the animals have a great year ahead of them!