Fueled by families who find themselves trapped between four walls with children who are twiddling their thumbs, the demand for puppies has exploded since the beginning of confinement, said several breeders contacted by The Canadian Press.
“Absolutely,” said Catherine Leblanc of Uapishka Labradors. I would say that I have had over 600 calls or emails since March 13th. We talk between breeders and it’s the same everywhere: people want a puppy for yesterday. “
The number of requests she receives has exploded, from around fifteen a week to 40 or even 50, to the point where she admits that she no longer even answers the phone.
Same story with Valentina Jack Russell Terrier from Saint-Sixte, in the Outaouais, where we receive up to 30 calls a day.
“Normally, including emails and phones, it’s about eight to ten requests a day,” said owner Symphonie Nadeau. So on our side, it would be fair to say that it is at least triple. “
The Belletruffe Farm, which produces Boston burrows, reports demand that has increased sevenfold.
“I receive an average of ten or fifteen calls or emails a day, instead of fifteen a week in normal times,” said Louise Bois.
The effect of containment
Everyone sees the direct impact of confinement, and families who want to adopt a companion are very transparent about it.
“Generally speaking, people will tell us that they are looking for a small dog to keep the children occupied, if we speak of the context of the pandemic,” said Ms. Nadeau. It’s sure that we have calls from thoughtful families that are interesting, […] but we work hard to be able to distinguish the true from the false. “
The phenomenon also manifests itself at the Montreal SPCA where, at the start of the pandemic, “weekdays looked like weekend days. There were queues, “said executive director Élise Desaulniers.
“And as soon as we closed to the public and opened by appointment, there was a huge demand, a lot of people who contacted us because they were looking to adopt,” she said. Several people said to us, “We have children at home, we are much more present, it may be the right time to integrate a new companion into our family”, so I understand these people very well. “
The three breeders warn that it will take a year and more to get a puppy, since it is out of the question for them to accelerate the breeding frequency of their females to take advantage of the windfall.
But families who are willing to wait that long are rare.
“Since the beginning of March, I have had four families who have agreed to wait two years,” said Ms. Bois. We see that they are interested families, but it is not much. “
“There are people who are surprised, who are used to going to a pet store and having everything right away,” said Nadeau. We have families who call two or three times each week to see if we have a puppy that has been canceled on our litters. We’re in an era where it’s hard to wait, so it’s a challenge. “
The situation could have two harmful consequences, fear the breeders, starting with the exploitation of this demand by less scrupulous breeders.
Browsing through classified ad sites, it’s actually not difficult to find cross dogs offered for a few thousand dollars – more money than it would cost for a purebred puppy.
“Everyone is a little overwhelmed and disgusted by what is happening,” denounced Ms. Leblanc. We know very well what will happen with puppies and we know very well that the majority of people are not patient and do not necessarily know the canine field. So they’re going to get bogged down with problems going “supply”, backyard breeders who offer sick dogs at ridiculous prices. “
Back to reality
The three breeders also fear that the families will become disillusioned after a few weeks, because they will have less time or they will have discovered what it really means to breed a puppy, and that the shelters suddenly overflow with abandoned animals .
“When people go back to work and the kids are in school, the puppies are going to be in their teens this fall, they are going to have behavioral and anxiety problems,” said Ms. Bois. People are more likely to put them in cages when the dog has always been used to being free in the house, […] we think there’s going to be a lot of feedback in [refuges]. “
Nadeau, of Valentina Jack Russell Terrier, relates that, when interacting with certain families, “we really feel that it is more like a toy, an entertainment that is sought after than a member of the family”.
This does not really worry Élise Desaulniers, of the SPCA.
“When I speak with [mes collègues] who live in areas that have suffered natural disasters, for example, […] people want to do something symbolic after a disaster […] and they’re going to adopt an animal, and we didn’t see any more quits afterwards, “she said.
Ms. Leblanc of Uapishka Labradors said that adopting a dog is a long-term commitment.
“We have time to take care of our puppy today, so we’re going to have time to clean it up and socialize it,” she said, summing up the attitude of some. But people don’t think that a puppy is not a month, or two, or three. It’s at least a year. And after that you have to continue to deal with it. “