Pets get left behind, in more ways than one, when owners return to work, says Winnipeg Humane Society – Winnipeg |

As Manitoba began to ease its COVID-19 restrictions, Winnipegger residents slowly began to return to the office, a process that continues today. While companies are happy to see employees return to their desks, there’s one group that isn’t so thrilled about it: their pets.

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After, in many cases, more than two years of people working from home, dogs and cats aren’t exactly ready for things to go back to the “old” way of staying home alone, and organizations like Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) are seeing the effects of that change.

Lenore Hume of WHS told 680 CJOB The beginning that the number of pet deliveries continues to rise as workers return to the office, with more than 120 cats and 60 dogs currently on delivery waiting lists.

“We’re starting to see people saying that the reason they want to give up their animals is because they’re going back to the office,” he said.

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“They have to work 10, 11, 12 hours a day and they start to worry about the animals being home alone during that time.”

Hume said that pets can adapt to the new situation, but if you’re worried about leaving them alone, don’t do it all at once: get your pet used to the idea that you’re not there.

“You’ve been home, you’ve been around them all the time and there can definitely be that separation anxiety,” she said.

“We definitely encourage you to work with your animal and slowly increase the amount of time you’re out, so it’s not just one day you’re there and then one day you’re not.”

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Hume said that inflation is another factor, and that the rising costs of everything, including pet food, are contributing to the issue of relinquished pets.

The WHS food bank, he said, has seen increased demand in recent months.

“The demand is very high. We use (the food bank), obviously, as a tool to have animals in homes. What can we do for you? How can we help? How can we get you pet food if that’s what you need?

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“As the economy continues to tighten, I think we’ll see it even tighter, definitely.”

Click to play video: 'Going back to work after 2 years at home?  Your dog's mental health could be affected, says Winnipeg trainer

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