WEST BEND, Wis. - Many people found new furry companions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rise in pet adoptions was a great thing for the animals, but it means it has been a busy year for veterinarians. In some cases, it means longer waits for appointments.
Khalessi, a 7-year-old dog, does not mind going to the vet. And it's a good thing, too; wait times for checkups are now a bit longer.
"She loves coming here because she loves the attention," Khalessi's owner, Joe Land, said. "She’s a boxer, and boxers are prone to health problems. She had a little bit of a cancer scare about a year ago, so just want to make sure she has regular checkups."
Heart & Soul Pet Clinic in West Bend has seen a surge in demand during the pandemic.
"Once the pandemic hit, a lot of people thought it was a perfect time to get a new puppy, a new kitten," said owner Trisha Stahl.
Stahl said it was hard to find qualified employees before the pandemic. The staffing issues were only made more complicated as pet adoption soared.
"What do you do? We obviously love animals, so we can’t say no, I’m not going to see or treat your pet. So we try and see if we can make it work," Stahl said.
The owner is asking people to be patient as clinics across the area do their best.
Lang said the wait is well worth it for a friend, like Khalessi.
"Having a dog kind of brings you out of yourself, right? You tend to get into your own head, start thinking about different things and worried about different things. I think having a dog, you have to think about her and her well-being," said Lang.
Stahl said many emergency centers have also cut back their hours, adding it is always best to call first to make sure your pet can be seen as soon as possible.