Yukon hits peak puppy as demand for canine companions outstrips supply

Both the Yukon Animal Rescue Network and the Humane Society Yukon report increased demand for pet adoption.

Yukon Animal Rescue Network has been working flat out to meet demand for dog adoptions

Norton and Wombat, both 6 years old, are from YARN. The Yukon dog rescue society says it can't keep up with the demand for dog adoptions. (Sharon Nehring-Willson/Facebook)

In Watson Lake, Yukon, Cheryl McGrath braces for the rush of demand every time she announces a new rescue puppy available for adoption.

"Just crazy," she says of the skyrocketing interest.

"I mean I can post one puppy for adoption and I'll get two dozen applications and another two dozen messages that I have to reply to folks if I get time to do that, it's just crazy busy."

McGrath says running YARN (Yukon Animal Rescue Network) as a volunteer has been a non-stop affair she's had to balance with her full time job. 

She notes the shift over the last year is not so much the number of dogs going out as it is the number of people who've been wanting to adopt.

"I think I've had about 150 puppies again this year that have been homed and several adult dogs as well," she said.

McGrath figures with more time at home because of the pandemic, more people feel ready for a pet.

"The number of people interested in adopting is just out of this world, so, so many people."

She says many people have sent in adoption applications early before dogs are even available, hoping to edge out the competition. 

Pingo from YARN's 'Highway Litter.' Demand is up for dogs in Yukon. (Stephanie Muckenheim/Facebook)

"People are fighting over puppies. I have way more potential adopters than I have puppies," she said.

McGrath adds some people have been frustrated with her when they don't get what they want.

"I just do my best and that's the best I can do."

The boom in adoption demand is also being felt by the Humane Society Yukon. 

"We have a lot of requests for puppies and kittens but I think we've found there is a lot more willingness for people to take in the older animals. Possibly the ones that would have been here for longer," says executive director Shelley Williamson. 

She says the Humane Society's shelter in Whitehorse has also had fewer animals surrendered in 2020. For the animals that are turned in, the average stay at the shelter is down. Most animals are only waiting about two weeks for adoption according to Williamson. 

"Yeah I would say that is more than unusual and that there is a higher willingness for people to take in animals that you know, possibly have a few behavioural issues," she said. "But we work on those issues here and we work with the adopters and so yeah, people have been amazing."

Both the Humane Society and YARN say even with the increased demand, they are still very cautious about who can adopt pets. Both organizations screen potential adopters.


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