COVID-19 brings on a pet and self-reliance craze

There has been an influx of pet adoptions and a demand for poultry products during the COVID-19 outbreak.

People are adopting animals and ways to become self-reliant amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, while businesses scramble to supply the increased demand.

For Graham Hay Market certain products have been in short supply, much like grocery stores. 

“Generally, what would last a week is sold in two hours,” said Tim Cannon, president of Graham Hay Market.

Poultry is in high demand as a way for people to become self-reliant according to Cannon, followed by fruit and vegetable starts which he has struggled to keep in stock. Adoption centers have experienced a similar amount of traffic as all kinds of animals are adopted or fostered during a time when people are stuck at home with the ability to care for a pet.

Customers at Graham Hay Market line up on chick purchase days 30 to 40 minutes before 9 a.m., in hopes of being the first to pick six of their favorite chicks when the store opens.

Residents outside of Graham Hay Market. Elissa Blankenship Photo

While sales on certain items have increased up to an estimate of 30 percent within Graham Hay Market, so have the limitations and expectations of the working environment. Cannon has implemented safety measures like turning his office window into a register, while the section for selecting live birds has been limited to three customers and one employee at a time.

At Graham Hay Market, farm and gardening supplies are selling fast as people begin to finish projects they’ve put off. Cannon spoke of the downtime that people are experiencing during the pandemic; a result of which has contributed to a shortage of stock in fencing and gates.

“Around three weeks ago there was that hoarding mentality… I think they were just afraid that product wasn’t going to be available,” said Cannon.

Aside from the busy times with sales of chicks, vegetables and fencing, other non-essential items are being left alone or rarely picked up off of the shelves.

Adoption centers around Pierce County are seeing an influx in pet adoptions and pet needs.

The Humane Society in Tacoma has taken on similar social limitations and have changed volunteer operations to only essential jobs. Most of the work is focused on shelter employees, and lobbies are limited to five people at a time. 

Humane society adds social distancing measures to combat COVID-19. Elissa Blankenship photo

People within these lobbies are required to be there for significant reasons only, some of which may include shelter visits to find a lost pet or inquire about adopting or fostering an animal. Since March 1, 182 dogs, 298 cats and 43 other animals have been adopted, with a little less than 100 dogs in the foster care system.

Both Graham Hay Market and the Humane Society have also implemented the idea of providing assistance to people who sit in their cars. 

“We’re all doing our part. It’s challenging, but we’re all adapting to it,” said Communications Manager Victoria Gingrey of the Humane Society.


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Elissa Blankenship

COVID-19 brings on a pet and self-reliance craze

by Elissa Blankenship time to read: 2 min