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Rise in people looking to adopt pets during lockdown

Georgina Bishop

The impact of lockdown and the move to working from home has seen a significant increase in people looking to adopt a pet, according to a rehoming centre.

Karen Slavid, a team leader at Battersea Old Windsor said rehoming requests ‘have probably more than doubled’ for both dogs and cats since lockdown began.

She said Battersea would never recommend people ‘rehome an animal on impulse’ but that if they have the‘capability to look after them lifelong’ then the influx is positive.

“It’s fantastic news really,” she said.

“To know that there are people out there willing to give rescue pets a home is great.”

Karen knows what ‘excellent companionship’ rescue pets provide but says ‘you have to think about long term’ – particularly when people might have to return to their places of work in the future.

“I think it’s really important to remember it is a huge commitment to take on a dog or cat and the rehoming process here is quite rigorous.

“It is something we would make sure people have thought about, that it’s not just an impulse buy or because they’re lonely at home on their own.

“Are you able to give that animal what it needs when your situation changes? Is that going to work for them? How can you help them adjust? Is it something you’re going to want or have time for afterwards?”

During the COVID-19 crisis Battersea Old Windsor staff have been adhering to Government guidelines.

As lockdown approached the centre ‘had a huge re-homing drive’ and placed cats and dogs with its network of foster carers so that a reduced staff could look after the animals still at the centre safely.

It was previously only open to emergency intakes but as restrictions have eased it is now taking non-emergency intakes, and the centre is also rehoming once again through appointments.

Karen said: “Although intake and rehoming are open it's running at a slightly slower pace so we’re just really grateful to people for hanging on in there and knowing that rescue dogs and cats are worth the wait.”

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