Dog adoptions have been booming since 2020, as people dealt with the prospect of staying home for weeks, then months, on end amid the COVID-19 pandemic—and, as you might have noticed if you were one of the people who recently applied to adopt a rescue animal, getting your hands on a pup has not been particularly easy. At The Cut, Allie Conti delves into why that is, telling stories along the way of would-be adopters whose applications were rejected for no apparent reason; or who were subjected to in-depth questions about which partner would take the dog in the event of a divorce or what would happen to the dog if both partners died of COVID; or whose hopes were dashed because they couldn't afford the $240-a-bag raw food or $1,000-a-session trainer that were recommended or take days off work to help ease the dog's transition.
Why is it so difficult? Obviously, supply and demand during the pandemic can explain some of the issues, but, as Conti explains, it's not just the pandemic causing those issues: While animal rescue started up because there were more dogs being born than humans caring for them, there's now a lot more people interested in taking those dogs in (thank the 2007 ASPCA ad featuring Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" over pictures of sad-looking animals) and not as many dogs are being born in the first place anymore, thanks to the increased number of spay and neuter policies in place. In 2017, the number of dogs in shelters was at an all-time low, and things started getting competitive. Add social media to the mix ("A lot of this is driven by Instagram," where some animal shelters have a huge following, says one bioethicist) and things can get really wild. Read the full article here. (Read more Longform stories.)