WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — During the COVID-19 shutdowns, pet adoptions rose 12% across the country.

As more people head back to work, shelters across the nation are reporting high rates of returning and surrendering pets adopted during the pandemic, but that doesn’t seem to be the case locally.

“We were concerned in the beginning but it’s turned out really well for us and we’re very blessed to not have that,” Cheryl Heineken said.

Heineken said some people came in because they were lonely during shutdowns, offering owners more time to create everlasting relationships with their new friend.

“I think they form a special bond and I think it’s worked out really well,” Heineken said.

This just adds to the excitement the humane society is already feeling, considering the future addition to the facility.

“Yeah, it’s definitely different, it’s well overdue,” employee Ashley Heineken said.

For other workers, like Ashley, it gives adds so much more to what they can do.

“Usually we’re trying to get around each other and we’re trying to squeeze past each other and I’m excited for the space,” Ashley said.

From being able to house additional animals, to new spaces for prospective adopters, plus the humane society will look and smell, better than ever.

“Not having the ceilings come down on you, you don’t have to worry about that, it will smell better,” Ashley said.

“Yeah, it’s been a long time coming, we’ve definitely need, needed a new shelter for a long time and it’s awesome to see our dream come true,” Cheryl said.

A dream of saving as many lives as possible and keeping as many families together as they can.

Officials with the Clay County Animal Shelter and the City of Wichita Falls Animal Services Center also say they haven’t seen an increase in returns.