By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) – When COVID-19 shut the world down, several hearts and homes opened up. As the country prepared to stay in, many people went to animal shelters in search of a quarantine companion. Now, restrictions are loosening and people are returning to old routines, but new pets don’t fit into every new normal.

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“When you have a dog and you’re with them 24/7, it’s a lot different than when you have to go back to work. If people live in apartments, and the dog barks constantly because their person is no longer home, a lot of people have to relinquish a dog for that reason,” said Selena Davison, Shelter Manager at Maxfund Animal Adoption Center.

On Monday, CBS4 visited Maxfund Animal Adoption Center. That’s where Rocco, an 8-month old Doberman Pinscher/Shepherd, is waiting for a forever home – again.

“He was a pandemic puppy, and now he’s just too much for the family. He was a cute little thing when they got him, and now he’s a big dog. They didn’t really do any training or anything with him,” said Davison.

At one point during the pandemic, Maxfund only had 11 dogs available for adoption. Many of those dogs had special needs, and they’re often difficult to find homes for. In the past two weeks, Maxfund has had 15 dogs brought to the shelter.

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During Davison’s interview with CBS4’s Tori Mason, three more dogs were surrendered. Some owners were forced to make a difficult decision, just to survive these difficult times.

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“Unfortunately, people have lost their housing due to the pandemic. They have to downsize or move, and they can’t afford the pet rent or a pet deposit, as well as their own rent,” said Davison.

Animal Rescue of the Rockies is a foster-based rescue that helps animals in crowded shelters find fosters, and often, permanent homes. They’ve provided foster homes and subsequent permanent homes to more than 10,000 dogs and cats to date.

“We were just amazed and astounded that so many people stepped up to foster and adopt last year. We never experienced that in our 17 years of operations. It was wonderful,” said Karen Martiny, Founder of Animal Rescue of the Rockies.

The enthusiasm she saw this time last year is fading, as volunteers begin to resume normal activities.

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“Restrictions are being lifted. We’re getting a lot of emails from people telling us that they have travel plans and vacations planned. Everybody’s ready to go somewhere now,” said Martiny. “If you have room in your heart and home to foster a pet, even if it’s just for a short period of time or just temporarily, it can truly save a life.”

ARR says you can help by fostering an animal, transporting animals from drop off locations to foster parents, sponsoring a foster, donating supplies and much more.

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Maxfund is always looking for volunteers and animal-loving homes ready to commit and adopt a pet. Cats also need homes, too.

Tori Mason