A massive influx of pandemic dogs overcrowds Melbourne's Lost Dogs Home due to dog owners surrendering them.
Originally purchased for pet companionship during COVID lockdowns, these pandemic dogs are now making their way back to the shelters.
Ruby Smith, a member of Lost Dog Home's Adoption Team, revealed that the shelter had experienced a significant increase in returns in this post-lockdown situation.
“We've seen a huge increase in surrenders; a 60% increase, actually,” Smith said.
Ms. Smith also explained that the returned hounds in Lost Dog Home are due to the owners no longer having the time, money, or effort to tend to their dog's needs.
“We're seeing a lot of larger breed dogs being surrendered,” Smith added.
“When they're still puppies, they're small and manageable, but when they grow up to be 30+ kilos, it becomes quite difficult,” she continues.
On top of these problems, the lockdown isolation setup had caused these abandoned dogs to have little to no social skills at all.
Ruby Smith said, “We're seeing a lot of dogs who are not getting along with other dogs.”
She continues, “We're also seeing a lot of dogs who are unable to be on their own, without their owner.”
Not only do these dogs require basic necessities to survive, but also the training that they need to interact well with others.
And without an owner figure to be held accountable, the task of socializing and training the dog goes to the dedicated staff of Lost Dog Home.
Campbell Barclay, the dog behavior trainer of Lost Dog Home, said that he trains the dogs because he wants to help not just the dogs but other people as well.
“So the training is not only about training the dogs, but it is also about training the people,” Barclay notes.
One of the hopeful dog candidates to be adopted but still lacked proper training was a French Bulldog named Tiger.
Ms. Smith comments, “He also hadn't any basic training. So we're also teaching him (Tiger) to sit, stay and wait for the food; all of those core skills.”
When asked about getting a dog as a pet, Barclay has a tip to do upcoming dog owners so as to avoid returning dogs back to the shelter: “Get a breed to suit your lifestyle to start with.”