Animal Shelters that were previously emptying out during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic are now seeing pandemic pups return to the shelter.  

Executive Director of Paws and Claws Animal Rescue Foundation, Mackenzie DeBoon says her shelter is nearing 200 per cent capacity and believes that’s a trend that is occurring across the province.  

“[During the pandemic] we would get a couple 100 applications a week for the 20 to 30 dogs we had available. Fast forward to now lots of people got dogs from rescues, but a lot of people who couldn't get dogs from rescues went and got dogs from wherever and whoever they could. The danger there is you get a lot of really improper compatibility between dogs and people. You get a lot of people adopting dogs because it seems like a good idea at the time, but they don't realize how much work actually needs to go into it. Fast forward, two years and we have an entire generation of dogs who have been largely underserved,” explained DeBoon.  

With the influx of families looking for a pandemic pup, many breeders were also pumping out the puppies to help meet the ongoing demand as well that was happening at the time. As a result, DeBoon says our local dog population has ‘exploded’.  

“Every single shelter is just absolutely full like I've had puppies born in care that are now just about six-months-old that haven't been adopted yet which is unheard of. It's really really bad, like my shelter right now is completely full,” said DeBoon.  

Most dogs in care have no behavioural issues but do require a bit of additional training to fit in properly with a family. DeBoon says the rescue is currently struggling to maintain in their standards in finding the right family for a dog when there are so many dogs that need homes and few resources to support them.  

Like most Albertans, the animal rescue has also felt the brunt of inflation taking a toll on their usual funding and donations.  

“Just because we're a nonprofit, you know people expect us not to have staff and not need to pay rent, not need to pay insurance, but at the end of the day, we as the rest you have all of the same costs pretty much as any regular business. For the last six months to a year. We've basically been scrambling at the end of every month to try to make ends meet at the very base level,” said DeBoon.  

On top of that, vet expenses, food, and other items continue to get more and more expensive. DeBoon admitted that it is also hard for the rescue to maintain their staff due to burnout as well.  

“It's a really, really hard industry to be in regularly and it's exponentially hard right now. We've lost a few of our key staff members,” she added.  

If you’re feeling ready to take on a new furry friend now is the time to pick one up. Paws and Claws currently has 25 dogs in their care right now and around 40-50 cats. DeBoon says it is important to consider, the training and life adjustments that will be needed to take on a new pet but right now it is also important to consider the financial implications of having a new pet in your home as well.  

The organization is also looking for volunteers if you aren’t quite ready yet to have an animal in your home.  

You can check out all of Paws and Claws' Facebook page and adoptable animals by clicking here.