GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) - You may remember it was all the rage: adopt a dog or cat to keep you company as you worked from home. And a lot of people have done that and they're taking care of the animals, but there are many who are abandoning them as their lives resume to something close to normal.
Greensburg's Ninth Life Rescue Center's social media is loaded with videos and pictures of cats and dogs looking for new homes and supply well ahead of demand.
But Jen Johnson, director of Ninth Life, says the situation is becoming worse. Pandemic pups and cats once adopted to fill emotional voids from lockdowns and job losses are being abandoned as people go back to work or just give up on them and bring them back.
"Out of sight out of mind, they don't really care anymore," Johnson told KDKA.
But Johnson and other shelter operators say some pet owners are leaving domesticated dogs and cats in the woods figuring they'll survive, but as Johnson put it, "Throwing them out to fend for themselves is a death sentence."
Ninth Life is presently trying to rehabilitate Rosie, a 4-year-old St. Bernard, a pandemic pup with medical issues.
Christine Menchio's dedicated countless hours to the dog. She told KDKA's Ross Guidotti the gigantic but gentle dog spent six months before being abandoned, unable to walk due to bad hips. Menchio says for Rosie's one-time owners, it was a lot cheaper to give up on the dog than save her. Her rehabilitation cost will likely total $10,000 to $15,000.
Rosie's future however is looking brighter.
Meanwhile, Christine Menchio and Jen Johnson say while many people have legitimate reasons to return animals, boredom and inconvenience are not valid ones.
Johnson, whose passion for all creatures great and small knows no limit put it this way: "Try to keep them. You made a decision; you made a lifetime commitment. Don't teach your kids that it's OK to just throw them away when they're not cute anymore."
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