Excerpted from Washington Post By Dana Hedgpeth

Animal shelters in the Washington region are experiencing a unique problem: As the coronavirus pandemic has kept more residents at home, it has created such a high demand for adopting dogs that the supply is increasingly limited.
Some shelters and humane rescue groups are seeing double the typical number of requests from people to adopt dogs since the pandemic hit the United States in early spring. As organizations have switched their in-person adoptions to virtual meet-and-greets, they also are competing with rescue groups in other parts of the country to bring in animals.

“We thought people would stop adopting because they would need to conserve their money,” said Cindy Sharpley, founder and director of Last Chance Animal Rescue, a nonprofit animal shelter in Waldorf. “But that hasn’t happened. It’s been just the opposite. They’re going like hot cakes. We can hardly keep them in stock.”

Last Chance saw its pet adoptions — mostly dogs — increase 30 to 40 percent last year over 2019. Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Arlington said it expected to finish 2020 helping about 3,385 pets find homes, up from about 1,800 the year before.

Mirah Horowitz, executive director of Lucky Dog, said rising demand prompted her to boost the organization’s online adoption services. Many shelters have conducted socially distanced meet-and-greets for would-be pet owners but still encounter about a two-week wait for applications to be processed.

“Anyone who felt like, ‘I can’t adopt an animal because I’m at work all day’ is now finding they’re at home,” Horowitz said. “People want a pet for companionship and to give kids a sense of responsibility and a playmate.”

Kimberly Ross, 50, who lives in Northeast Washington, said she put in at least eight applications while trying to adopt a dog and finally got one from the Humane Rescue Alliance two weeks later. She meet Steedle, a 19-pound mini pinscher mix, on a Zoom call.
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