People find pet companionship during pandemic, adoptions up

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 7:21 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - If you welcomed a four-legged family member in 2020, you weren’t alone.

The Humane Society of Marathon County said their pet adoptions are on the rise this year during the pandemic.

With COVID-19 being a difficult time for everyone, the Humane Society said pets have been able to keep people company and put smiles on families' faces.

“What better time to get a pet settled when everyone’s there and can be a part of the process to make that transition a little smoother,” Executive Director at the Humane Society of Marathon County Lisa Leitermann said.

Once places started shutting down during the pandemic, and people had more time on their hands, pet adoptions saw a boom.

“So between like February and may adoptions were up about 18%, so we were looking at about the last three years on average we were up 18%,” she said.

Leiterman said adoptions are still up, but they’re not as high as they had been at the start of the pandemic.

“Now we’re kind of starting to level off, get back to real life where our intakes are creeping up but we’re still staying steady with adoptions,” Leitermann said.

As people take time to reflect during COVID, they’re turning to their pets for comfort and love, something Centre for Well-Being Director Noreen Salzman said could be a big factor for increased pet adoptions

“Having this companion to take care of and interact with definitely helps ward off anxiety, helps depression, helps with PTSD,” Salzman said.

Having someone to talk to in a crisis gives people a sense of support and alleviates loneliness, which became prevalent during the pandemic.

“Adequate support means that you’re going to be much more likely to be able to get through a very difficult time a lot better and pets can definitely add that for people,” Salzman said.

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