The more the merrier: how pets keep mental health in check during pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic may have brought a lot of suffering, but there are happy pets and even happier pet-owners enduring through the hard times together.
The presence of a household pet has been linked to improved mental health and socialization, even in a time where socialization is nearly impossible.
The profound link between pets and mental health matters, especially in our mid-pandemic world. Your pet can keep you comforted and connected when life takes a lonely turn. When life gets rough, a furry friend is beyond good enough.
Ava Dodd is one of thousands of students in the United States who was ousted from her school in 2020. A freshman in high school, Ava had a lot of change and new experiences coming her way. Separation from friends was incredibly difficult for her.
“Everybody wanted a little school off. We were all like woo!” Dodd said.
Until a two-week break turned into months.
“You didn’t get to go on trips or hang out with friends,” Dodd said. “I was disappointed.”
Though isolated in many ways, she was not alone. She had Pearl, her goofy tuxedo cat, to keep her company.
“I liked having something to pet, to calm me down. She made a good tear catcher,” Dodd said.
And when the world is changing faster than you can process, a good tear catcher is absolutely necessary.
Dodd is far from the only person who leaned on a pet when COVID-19 made things tough. Michael Stockman, freshly graduated from college when the pandemic hit, was feeling the same pressures.
He was in a new apartment, with a new job, and in a new city. He went from being surrounded by family and friends to alone. His dog, Bubba, was his lifeline.
“Living alone was very taxing on my mental health,” Stockman said. “Bubba kept me from going absolutely insane.”
It isn’t just dogs and cats keeping people sane, it’s the presence of an unconditional friend and dependent that is holding people together. That was certainly the case for Vy Lee and her gecko, Moose.
As a healthcare worker, Lee saw a different and incredibly stressful side of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lee explained that knowing her ‘little buddy’ was at home waiting for her got her through tough shifts. Moose helped her decompress and keep her emotions in check.
Statistics taken during the COVID-19 pandemic indicate that the role of pets in our lives is especially important in these trying times. According to an article from the World Economic Forum, the relationship between pet ownership and uplifted well-being is strong.
An article by the National Alliance on Mental Illness explains that animals soften our souls, appealing to some purer, loving part of ourselves, they help reduce stress and anxiety significantly. They help with feelings like isolation and loneliness, something that was heightened for everyone due to the pandemic.