We Can Be Heroes: The Rise Of Rescuing Dogs In Lockdown

It seemed as if everyone was getting a dog during the lockdown. Although there is no definitive answer as to why it could be down to more people making the most of their time outside during the first lockdown. And, because more people were working from home, they had time to spend with their dogs. But were more people buying or adopting dogs? Data from Butternut Box has found that in lockdown, between March and May, the searches for buying dogs went up 124% compared to rescuing dogs, which was only up 54%.

In this article, we discuss the data we have collected about people buying and rescuing dogs during the lockdown.

Raving About Rescues

Giving a rescue dog a new life can be one of the greatest things you can do. Many people decided to start by rescuing dogs during lockdown. In the data from Butternut Box, the average monthly searches for ‘puppy rescue UK’ was 2,900. But in August 2020, it went up to 6,600. It seems that small dogs are something that people wanted, as the searches for ‘small dog rehoming’ went up by a huge 400%. The number of people looking to adopt older dogs also saw a steep increase: ‘senior dog rescue’ went up by 320%.

This has been great for dog rescue centres—the Dogs Trust received 1,000 requests for one single dog before lockdown, showing that more dogs have been getting rescued as demand has increased. Yet some charities are worried that those people will have less time for their dogs when life gets back to normal and they stop working from home, where they can spend all day with their dogs. When this happens, dog rehoming centres are scared there will be an influx of unwanted dogs.

rescuing dogs in lockdownDangers Of Buying

Because of the huge demand for dogs over lockdown—especially puppies—more people have been turning to unknown breeders online to get their puppies. Quite a lot of the time, those puppies come from puppy farms. Searches for ‘cheap puppies near me’ went up 1,710%. The dangers of buying puppies from online breeders were even covered in the mainstream media. Love Island stars Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury bought a Pomeranian puppy from a breeder. Within a week of the puppy arriving from Russia, it sadly had a seizure and died. An autopsy found out that part of the puppy’s skull was missing, and he had no white blood cells. Buying puppies from third-party sellers is illegal, but these puppies get delivered straight to the owners’ door without going through the third party company.

Breeders, especially online, show their dogs as being luxurious and amazing. But the same photo of one dog can be used many times, and the one you buy may not be the dog in the photo. Often, when they are transported from places like Russia, they are in transit for days. The dogs defecate due to the stress and this is where disease can spread. They are kept in dirty conditions when travelling but spend time in the UK getting groomed to look normal before being given to the new owners.

It’s always good to check your local dog rehoming centre first before thinking about buying a dog. You may find your forever furry baby there and you will be taking a dog out of a bad situation.

Advice for buying a dog

If you do want to buy a dog rather than rescuing one during the lockdown, do your research. Make sure you investigate the breeder to ensure they are a good, reputable breeder. Meet the dog before buying it and, if it’s a puppy, make sure it’s still with its mother, so you know it hasn’t been taken away from its family too young which can cause them later in life to become anti-social and more aggressive. Make sure you see proof that it’s been to the vets, has its correct vaccinations and has been microchipped. Furthermore, make sure that you and your family have time for a puppy. Do you have the time to give it the attention it needs? Can you take it out for the number of walks necessary?

Which dogs are searched for most?

The data from Butternut Box also revealed the most searched-for breeds of dog that people want to buy. Toy Cavachon puppies were the most popular, with ‘toy Cavachon puppies for sale near me’ up by 4,700%! People just can’t resist those fluffy little bodies. Next were English Cocker Spaniels, as people searching for them ‘for sale near me’ rose 1,850%. Fluffy dogs seem to be popular. Coming in at third is searches for ‘white golden retriever puppies near me’. This dog is compatible with many different family set-ups, which may be why it is so popular.

Overall, we don’t want to put you off getting a dog, we just want to make sure you have the time and funds necessary for it. Whether that dog may need special sensitive skin dog food or you have an energetic dog that needs a lot of walks, you need to make sure you are the right owner for the dog you get. If you do get a furry friend, remember the essentials—searches for ‘buy dog bed’ went up by 300%!