Pandemic puppies, kittens and other pets seem to be everywhere these days: your Facebook feed, neighborhood streets, dog parks, veterinarian offices and local businesses. It may seem as if everyone you know adopted or purchased a pet during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
While that may be an exaggeration, the increase in pet ownership is not. Ownership is at a record high with 70% of U.S. households owning a pet, a 3% increase from last year, according to industry group American Pet Products Association. And existing pet owners pampered their pets more, with 35% saying they spent more on their pets this year than last year, according to a report in Pet Business about the APPA’s 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey.
The loneliness and isolation created by the pandemic had people turning to the companionship and joy pets provide. But now that people are venturing out into the world again or returning to work, some wonder how Fluffy, Fido and Fifi play into the picture.
“What’s better than a cute new addition to bring some joy to families during these uncertain times?” says Emily McHugh, the owner of Off the Leash Doggie Daycare in Attleboro.
For many new pet owners, adopting during the pandemic was not solely because of the increased amount of time spent at home.
Shane Matlock of Attleboro, who owns The Burgundian food trucks and will open a physical location on Park Street in the city soon, believed a pet would fit into his family’s life and added a Great Pyrenees Golden Retriever mix named D’Artagnan in May.
“It (adopting a dog) was something we felt necessary as our kids dealt with increased anxiety, and time at home,” he said. “We were taking more walks and hikes — we just realized we were finally ready to add a puppy.”
Tricia Prata, a Seekonk resident who works in the high school office, expressed similar sentiments. She said her decision in February to adopt Hal, a rescue dog whose breed is unknown, was driven by the fact that she always wanted a dog and it felt like the right time.
Matlock found the breeder he adopted D’Artagnan from through the American Kennel Club, while Prata found Hal through the CENLA Alliance Animals, based in Louisiana. Both owners are keeping their dogs in shape and well trained. Matlock is training D’Artagnan through Maynard Training, a veteran-owned business that comes to his house.
Prata took Hal to a doggie kindergarten class at Canine Mastery in Seekonk, which helped her to learn more about owning a dog and helped teach Hal basic puppy manners and commands. On top of training, both owners like to keep their dogs extremely active. Prata brings Hal to the dog park, the beach and hiking with her.
Both Matlock and Prata have returned to work in person, but this will not be a problem for either of their pups. Luckily, these locals work close to their homes and have the ability to travel back and forth on their lunch breaks to give the dogs a chance to head outside and get some cuddles during their owners’ work days.
“Adopting my dog, Hal, was one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Prata said.
However, many owners don’t have the ability to stop at home for a quick visit during the day — that’s when doggie daycare steps in.
Off the Leash Doggie Daycare in …….