Furry friends help Germans ease pandemic blues – Times of India

BERLIN: Markus Salomon and his household had been fascinated about getting a canine for years, nevertheless it was the coronavirus pandemic that lastly pushed them to deliver dwelling one-12 months-outdated combined breed Uschi.
“The pandemic is of course a time when we are at home a lot, so in lockdown, and that is a good time to get a dog,” mentioned the 53-12 months-outdated biologist and Berlin resident.
“You can’t do very much, you can’t go on holiday, you can’t visit friends or relatives, but what you can do is go for a walk, a spot of hiking, a drive in the woods, and a dog is great for that,” he mentioned.
Germany has seen an explosion in pet adoption within the pandemic, with demand for cats, canine and different furry companions hovering as individuals search methods to ease loneliness and tedium.
The quantity of canine bought within the nation elevated by a “dramatic” 20 % in 2020 in contrast with the earlier 12 months, in keeping with the Deutsche Hundewesen (VDH) kennel membership.
Overall, the quantity of pets in German households climbed by virtually a million to just about 35 million, figures from the Industrial Association of Pet Care Producers (IVH) present, with cats and canine on the prime of the checklist.
Breeders and animal shelters have been overwhelmed with demand, with the Tierheim Berlin shelter reporting 500 enquiries in a single weekend final spring.
There has additionally been a knock-on impact for the pet care trade, with demand for meals, equipment and toys driving revenues up 5 % final 12 months to five.5 billion euros ($6.5 billion).
In a current survey by the German pet portal, 84 % of canine house owners mentioned their pets had not solely offered a distraction within the pandemic but additionally a lot-wanted emotional help.
“Pets are conversation partners for many, especially for people living alone,” mentioned Frank Nestmann, a psychologist specialising in human-animal relationships on the Dresden University of Technology.
And their firm has been all of the extra beneficial at a time when individuals are inspired to remain at dwelling relatively than socialise with a purpose to hold coronavirus transmission down.
“People are social beings. When socialising is reduced and rules for distancing are established, then other social beings like dogs or other pets in general take on an even greater meaning,” Nestmann mentioned.
But there’s additionally a darkish facet to the surging demand for pets, with the quantity of canine bought illegally in Germany greater than doubling between 2019 and 2020, in keeping with the German Animal Welfare Association.
Such canine are sometimes bred overseas in poor situations after which bought to German shoppers for a premium value — however typically become sick or tough to deal with, resulting in them being deserted.
“Demand is insanely high and all the animal welfare organisations have practically no animals left. Of course, this means that the illegal trade is thriving,” mentioned Berlin shelter spokeswoman Annette Rost.
Marti, a one-and-a-half-12 months-outdated Staffordshire terrier combine, was imported illegally from Romania after which stored locked in a cellar earlier than being delivered to the shelter, the place he’s being handled for stability and coordination points and different well being issues.
Prospective house owners are sometimes lured by puppies like Marti as a result of of the “beautiful colours that are so popular on Instagram” however are unable to manage after they develop greater, mentioned Xenia Katzurke, behavioural therapist for canine on the shelter.
The pandemic basically is resulting in so much of individuals “getting an animal without thinking… about what will happen when the pandemic is over and their life returns to normal”, in keeping with Rost.
That should not be an issue for Markus Salomon and his household, who’ve already gotten used to Uschi stealing meals from their bins, barking over their conversations and leaping on the desk at mealtimes.
Daughter Annelie, 14, described her new companion as “very lively, cheeky… but also sensitive”, bringing a welcome distraction from dwelling education for her and sister Sophie, 9.
And if life ever does return to regular and the household are allowed to journey overseas once more, Uschi is sufficiently small to slot in their hand baggage.

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