Pets Adoption Rates Rise

The Pandemic Creates Opportunity for Pet Adoption


Piper Douglas’ dog Henry gets his picture taken at a birthday party she threwfor him.

  Pet adoptions were at an unprecedented high this year after the COVID-19 pandemic left people at home wanting new experiences.

“The average length of stay before COVID was seven [days]; during COVID it was two days and now it is four days,” said Paige Lucas, the Adoption Supervisor at the APA’s location in St. Louis.  Her adoption center was just one of thousands across the country to be hit by the adoption surge.  However, as with every other industry pandemic restrictions affected the way they did business

“There were a lot of differences, we were only doing curbside pickup,”  said Lucas.  During the first months of the pandemic people were adopting pets without even going into the building, a part of the adoption process for so many people.  You would normally be able to tour the facility and then pick a dog to bring to play with them and see if they were a good fit.  But during the pandemic they adopted the pets without visiting.

“He is an American Bully,” said Piper Douglas (12), referring to her newly adopted dog.  Douglas is one of many pet owners to adopt a new animal.

“He is like an old man,” Douglas said.

One of the major concerns during the beginning of the pandemic was what will happen to these pets once we go back to normal?  Many were concerned about surrenders after people went back to work.  A surrender is when a person gives up their pet to an animal shelter, then the animal goes back through the adoption process.  This lowers their chance of adoption as younger animals are more likely to be adopted.

“We are luckily not seeing an unusually high number of surrenders,” said Lucas. ”There was a spike after the eviction ban was lifted.”  This means that most of the pets adopted during the pandemic are still in homes.

Another concern was that animals would suffer from separation anxiety.  According to the ASPCA, an animal rights advocate group, “Separation anxiety is caused by animals being left alone after being used to being near a guardian.”  During the pandemic with everyone at home seeing their animal all times of the day it was definitely a valid concern that pets, whether recently adopted or not, would develop it.

“He definitely has some anxiety. He gets crazy when I am not at home,” said Douglas.  According to the ASPCA, training as well as giving your pet adequate time alone can help your pet break the habit, and if that doesn’t work it may be time to consult a dog trainer and get professional help.

Dog adoptions at the Hanley Road APA are still better than ever before.  In 2020, 3,519 pets were adopted and over 3,000 animals have already been adopted since the first of the year.

If you are looking for an animal, you can count on an accurate listing from the APA.

“We keep our website pretty up to date,” Lucas said.  The APA is open on weekdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. You can find them at