Woman who adopted lockdown puppy warns others not to rush into it as she admits he costs up to £100 a month, training has left her in tears and she fears he doesn’t have the best life in her small flat
- Erica, 36, south London, terrier mix adopted 10-month-old Peanut in September
- Rescued the animal from Cyprus after already trying to re-home dog from the UK
- Has struggled with training animal and was unprepared for the financial burden
- Comes after reports of hundreds of ‘lockdown puppies’ being handed in or sold
A woman who bought a puppy during lockdown has admitted she was unprepared for the challenges of owning a dog during the pandemic.
Erica, 36, who lives alone in a small south London flat, has been working at home as a digital manager since the pandemic began, and in September adopted 10-month-old terrier mix Peanut.
After being told she wasn’t an ‘ideal candidate’ while trying to re-home a puppy in the UK – with a small home and no garden – Erica turned to charities working abroad, and rescued Peanut from Cyprus.
Although happy about her decision to adopt Peanut, Erica regrets not preparing herself properly for owning a dog, admitting that she sometimes worries the animal doesn’t ‘have the life he wants’ with little space to run around in.
She has also been frustrated with Peanut’s slow training and disobedience, telling FEMAIL that she wasn’t expecting the animal to be such a financial burden at £60 and £100 per month.
Erica, 36, who lives alone in a small south London flat, adopted 10-month-old terrier mix Peanut in September
Erica lives in a small flat without a garden, but makes sure to take her new pet on long walks in surrounding parks
Nevertheless, she says adopting Peanut has helped greatly with her mental health over the pandemic and that she’s tried to plan for Peanut post-pandemic by deciding to work from home most days.
‘I didn’t do too much research into dogs as such’, said Erica, ‘I have always been around dogs and already knew quite a lot (or so I thought!). But I did do my research into the charities I wanted to help support with my adoption.
‘Naturally, I attempted to re-home a dog already in the UK, but as I don’t have a big home or my own garden, I was told I was ‘not an ideal candidate’ for dog adoption.
‘So instead, there are some incredible charities working to re-home stray and abandoned dogs from all over the world, here in the UK’.
Although happy about her decision to adopt Peanut, Erica regrets not preparing herself properly for owning a dog, admitting she worries Peanut may not have enough space
Nevertheless, she says adopting Peanut has helped greatly with her mental health over the pandemic
She added: ‘I regret not preparing myself properly. I worry I’m not giving him the life he wants here in my small flat, but we are surrounded by parks, and these parks are full of pups now. So he has a wonderful life here, much better than his previous life.’
Earlier this month it was reported that hundreds of ‘lockdown puppies’ are being resold or handed in to rescue centres, because short-sighted owners are struggling to cope only months after buying them.
Sellers have flooded pet websites with adverts for dogs aged between six and 12 months, with many admitting they either do not have the time or the money to look after them.
Furthermore, research from pet wellness experts Itch revealed that nearly three quarters of Brits surveyed who brought a ‘lockdown puppy’ worry their pet will have separation related issues once life returns to normal.
Erica has tried to plan for Peanut post-pandemic by deciding to work from home most days when workers return full-time to the office
Peanut was living in Cyprus and had been rescued by charity Underdog International after being removed from an abusive home at just four months old
The study also found that 40 per cent of new dog owners have experienced regrets about their purchase, with one in five not realising the work involved in raising and caring for a puppy.
Before the pandemic, Erica never thought she would be able to get a dog, living in a one-bedroom flat with only a small balcony and commuting daily into to central London.
She knew it ‘wouldn’t be fair’ to look after an animal permanently, and would use apps like Borrow My Doggy to spend time with dogs when she had spare time.
She told FEMAIL: ‘When it became obvious in the summer that life would not be returning to “normal” and that the office was going to be transformed into an agile space for those to come and go as and when they pleased – well, I took the opportunity of being home all the time and started the hunt for a rescue dog to keep me company as I work from home until the end of time.’
‘Lockdown puppies’ flood rescue centres as they’re abandoned by owners
Hundreds of puppies purchased during the pandemic are being resold or handed in to rescue centres.
Sellers in early January flooded pet websites with adverts for dogs aged between six and 12 months.
Many owners admitted they either do not have the time or the money to look after them.
The price of puppies surged to more than £3,000 for some breeds last year as many people started working from home or were furloughed.
Dozens of adverts have now appeared on sites such as Pets4you and Preloved as owners hope to recoup their costs.
More than 1,800 people have called the Dogs Trust over the past three months wanting to hand over dogs aged under one year old.
The charity received 114 calls on December 27 and 28 alone, including for 19 puppies under nine months old.
The RSPCA said it was ‘really concerned’ that so many dogs were being resold and was ‘bracing itself’ for more animals to be abandoned.
Peanut was living in Cyprus and had been rescued by charity Underdog International after being removed from an abusive home at just four months old.
The animal had all his necessary jabs abroad in order to get his Euro pet passport before coming to the UK, where he was registered to Erica’s local vets.
However, Erica soon realised that training Peanut would be more difficult than she expected, admitting she’s been in tears over her pet’s ‘slow training, his disobedience, his refusal to wear a harness or eat his dinner out of a bowl.’
‘There are some things I need help with, like his harness anxiety and his recall commands, said Erica.
‘He is part scent hound and so extra difficult to get to come back when there’s the scent of a squirrel or fox poop on the wind.
‘Unfortunately, we have not been able to get 1-2-1 time in real life with a trainer, only video calls which don’t really help me. I am desperate for some physical help in training.’
Erica had no idea how expensive Peanut would be, revealing: ‘From pet insurance to food to treats and toys, new leads when he chews through them, rain jackets, blankets, cute s*** I see online, I reckon I spend between £60 and £100 a month on him!’
Despite all the challenges owning Peanut has caused, Erica told of the profound impact the animal has had on her mental health, providing her with ‘utter joy and happiness’ during the pandemic.
‘I live with anxiety as a symptom of misdiagnosed ADHD, and so the pandemic has been hard for a multitude of reasons’, she said.
‘I live alone, and my support bubble lives on the other side of South London, so I was alone a lot during the first lockdown when it was all very new and scary and we stayed home for all but one hour a day.’
‘Part of the reason for getting a dog was for company, the other reason was to help with my mental health which was suffering pretty bad with the whole “lack of life”.
‘Some people thrived in lockdown, others just survived – I am very much in the latter category.
‘So, having him here with me has given me hope, utter joy and happiness and a reason to leave the house every day – things I was desperately struggling with before he came along.’
Erica admitted that part of the reason she wanted to adopt Peanut was to feel less lonely and to benefit her mental health during lockdown
As for when the pandemic is over, Erica plans to stay working from home all but two days a week, with Peanut going into doggy day care on the days she’s in the office.
‘If we weren’t in lockdown and I had to go back to full time in the office, I would have to send him to doggy day care more than I do now, which is £25 per day, and that would certainly be more of a financial burden for me.’
She went on: ‘If we weren’t in lockdown, but I still worked from home, then the differences would be positive. We’d be able to socialise more, not just in the park, we could go on dog-friendly holidays, we could go to the pub and dog-friendly cafes. It would be awesome.
‘But, if we’re talking if things were different and we still lived in a pre-Covid world, then I wouldn’t have been in a position to adopt Peanut.’
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