Growing up in Shelter

If someone would have stopped me on the street three years ago and told me that puppy adoptions would slow down to the point where these adorable little beings would be growing up in shelters, I would have quickly turned and run, because I could only assume that they were absolutely crazy.

So, believe me when I say that despite the fact that I’m seeing it with my own eyes, I still  cannot fully comprehend the reality that puppies ARE growing up in shelters – at Bideawee and across the US.  We know that 28 million people adopted pets during the pandemic and that there was an unprecedented demand for dogs and cats, and much of this interest was in puppies. And that’s great! But where have all the adopters gone?  Just because life is getting back to normal doesn’t mean that fewer innocent animals are in need of homes. In fact, there are quite possibly more, since some are being returned or surrendered to shelters for any number of reasons: lifestyle change being the most frequently quoted in our experience, followed by behavior and medical.

But back to the pups. I’ve often been quoted as saying that no matter how good the shelter – growing up or staying for any significant amount of time is never good for an animal.  There are stressors in sounds, environment, smells and no matter what – a shelter is not a home.  Our staff and volunteers love them and care for them – but they are not a family.  Up until recently, pups like Jack and Charly would have never seen a couple of days, let alone a couple of weeks in the shelter.  Or Juliette and Bandit who are a few years old but are such great dogs that they would have flown out of the shelter pre-pandemic. And these are just a couple of examples. There are literally thousands and thousands of pups across the country that are looking for homes today.

The mission is critical because the consequences of these pups growing up in shelter are severe. Staff and volunteers do everything in their power to work on training, minimize stressors, and get them into foster homes. But try as they might, they are still racing against the clock and combatting the trauma that accompanies so much jostling about and shelter life. Not only that, but we know that puppies are often seen as more appealing than their older counterparts, and the longer a dog stays in the shelter, the more likely they are to develop certain behavior challenges, further compounding the obstacles they will face in getting adopted.

My plea is simple. If you’ve been on the fence about adopting, fostering, or bringing a second pup into your family – NOW IS THE TIME.  We need you, puppies need you, adult dogs need you, and the shelters across the country like Bideawee need you to help free up space so we can save another innocent life.  Please consider adopting or fostering a puppy and Be Their Hero. You’ll also be my hero.