1st May 2020
Although searches for puppies on their website doubled between February and March 2020 as the restrictions were announced.
It seems to be a logical thought process for a lot of people, “When will we ever get a better chance than this to get a dog settled in?”, but, have they considered the potential for disaster once life returns to some sort of normality?
A puppy that has received all the attention and time in the world dedicated to it for weeks could suddenly be left at home alone for extended periods of time during the week. The owners may return to work, and at weekends when lockdown ends, they might want to start socialising with friends again, for a much-needed night out.
This could lead to increased levels of stress and loneliness for the puppy that was used to so much constant attention. You may not be popular with your neighbours if the puppy spends the day barking and crying, and you may need to gear up for some extra DIY on those chewed up door frames! All this is simply not fair on the puppy.
It could also be fair to say that people have looked into the prospect of getting a dog in this period of lockdown because they saw that restrictions allow you to walk a dog, and therefore they saw it as a way of getting more time outside rather than having a pet for the love of it?
Charities including Battersea Dogs Home and the RSPCA have stated that they don't want people to rush into getting new pets at this time, as there is a concern that more animals will be abandoned, once life does go back to normal and people no longer spend so much time at home. A spokesperson from Battersea Dogs Home stated that, "If you are considering getting a pet during these uncertain times, it's important to remember taking on an animal is a huge commitment and it's irresponsible to do so unless you're really able to care for them in the long term."
The charity had previously stopped all rehoming, only allowing its animals to go to foster families during lockdown - they say at the time of writing, 160 animals are currently being looked after this way. However, Battersea have recently received new advice from the government and is now back to processing existing applications for adoption of animals at its centres.
But the message remains the same, think hard before getting a pet.
Some further food for thought, according to research, is that it costs between £4,500-£13,000 to look after a dog over its lifetime, excluding potentially costly medical care that may be required.
Considering all of this, I would strongly advise that anybody thinking about getting a puppy during this time seriously considers the issues mentioned above and that decisions are not made in haste. It’s a very sobering thought to think of the potential neglect or stress unnecessarily caused to these animals as a result of rash decisions.