We nornally get 1-3 enquiries a week about the availability of puppies. Since NZ's COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown, we are getting up to 5 a day.
This has probably been excarbated by the "lockdown fever" videos we've been posting on Facebook of the adorable puppies we have here at the moment, Even so, it doesn't seem to account for the huge upsurge of people who suddenly want a Chihuahua. Now.
Perhaps the thinking is that they are finally home for enough time to settle a puppy in, so they might as well seize the opportunity. Carpe diem and all that. Maybe they are bored, or lonely, or just finally finding thelselves with enough time on their hands to decide it's about time they got the Chihuahua companion they have always dreamed of owning.
Sadly, we have to say "no", or "wait until the next litter" and ocassionaly "over my dead body". The pups we have here at the moment are all spoken for, including two that are waiting for export to Australia once international travel restrictions are lifted.
But even if that were not the case,, Dogs New Zealand has put out some very clear advice about placing puppies in their new homes during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown period.
The direction from Government is that during this time people are only allowed to leave their houses to access essential services, go to work for an essential service, or to go for a walk.
New Zealanders have been directed to not invite or allow social visitors to enter their property. Transport should only be used for accessing essential services. Self-isolation means staying home and limiting travel.
In addition, although there is no clear evidence that dogs are able to contract and transmit COVID-19, they may act as fomites - carriers on their surface - of the virus and potentially transmit it from one household to another in that way.
During Alert Level 4 puppies should not be placed into new homes, regardless of their age. To do so would be in direct breach of government directions and the persons doing so may be liable to receive fines or prosecution.
Dogs NZ recommends that breeders take all available steps to appropriately expose puppies to available environmental stimulus during this time. Puppy buyers will be anxious to have their new additions. However, just as we are not allowed to engage with people outside of our 'bubbles', the same goes with animals. The use of teleconferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype can be used so that the puppy buyers can see and talk to their new additions.
This is a challenging time for everyone. The more we diligently stick to the government directives the slower the spread of COVID-19 and the sooner we can get back to life as normal.
We'll keep posting cute vides, because, well, puppies, and we are always happy to talk to genuine potential owners, but please understand that even the people who have bought and paid for their puppies can't get them while we battle this pandemic through social distancing.