Has COVID-19 Turned “Man’s Best Friend” Into “Part-Time Friend”?
In the world’s most recent, unprecedented times, there’s been an increase in dog adoption across the globe.
People feeling isolated, lonely – who wouldn’t want some company and that joyous feeling that comes from giving and receiving love.
Whilst the Team at Dog Cloud see this as a beautiful thing, there’s inevitable concerns from animal welfare groups who worry about pet abandonment increasing when this pandemic subsides.
So let’s discuss a range of potential issues and what we as good “Dog Lovers” can do to protect and train dogs during this crazy time.
Dog Adoption Explosion & Pet Abandonment
March 2020: New York
During the massive spike of US Covid-19 infection rates which the world saw dramatically spike in New York in March 2020, there was another figure also spiking.
Dog adoption. According to Sarah Brasky, the founder and executive director of Foster Dogs Inc., a New York-based nonprofit that connects animal rescue organizations with adopters and fosters – foster Dogs saw more than a 1,000% increase in foster applications in March alone.
Wuhan China : Early Stages of Outbreak
Pet abandonment surged rapidly as Coronavirus broke out. The same thing happened SARS in 2003. Why? Fear of animal to human transmission is the main reason. So when a pet Pomeranian in Hong Kong came back with a “weak positive” to Covid-19, the same fears were stirred and dogs were left on the streets to fend for themselves.
NOTE: As of April 3, it was confirmed that no dog to human transmission occurred. Just as it didn’t during SARS. 
As whilst another Hong Kong dog tested positive along with 4 cats – all remained asymptomatic (no symptoms).
But the fear had already kicked in.
Animal rights groups around the world had reason to be concerned with previous outbreaks causing mass abandonments and even killing of household pets due to fear of contagion.
That’s why we feel somewhat compelled to share a few truths about previous outbreaks and early facts relating to covid-19 because false fears causes unnecessary pet suffering.
But what about the human suffering from loneliness?
Dogs have long been “Man’s Best Friend” (no sexism intended). As humans, our bond with the most social of all animals in the animal kingdom is a special one.
Research shows that dogs have a powerful effect on humans. Used in hospitals and with older folk it has proven psychological benefits. Even more interesting could be the physiological changes in the human body from being around loving pets – decreased stress and arousal levels, better moods, lower depression and more.
Covid-19 even accelerated efforts to test robotic dogs with aged people.
Conclusion of robot dog experiment: “…not the same as a living breathing animal” – no kidding!!!
Will Pet Abandonment Increase? We think (hope).. No!
Whilst there are some realities such as financial hardship, even death that may cause pets to be seeking new homes, we don’t hold the same fears and here’s why…
Dogs, more than ever, are considered as family members. They are treated like part of the family. The Evolution of Dog Beds alone proves to us that dogs sleep indoors more than ever before. Their diets have evolved to include more treats (not always good!) in the same way humans enjoy simple pleasures relating to food.
By having the understanding that transmission of covid-19 and whatever the world throws at us next, is so far, a non-issue in terms of dog-to-human acquired contagion, there are far more benefits to be derived from the love, warmth and affection a dog in our lives brings.
Wilder-Smith A, Chiew CJ Lee VJ
Can we contain the COVID-19 outbreak with the same measures as for SARS?Lancet Infect Dis 2020 pii: S1473-3099(20)30129-8. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30129-8