How Pets Rescue People from Loneliness in the Pandemic

golden retriever puppies

No doubt, having pets in your house during good times can bring even more joy to the family. During challenging moments, such as what we have today, pets can provide so much more than just companionship. Many people are being kept at home due to the coronavirus, and many of them are turning to pets for comfort in the face of physical isolation and anxiety.

Rising adoption demand

The demand for pet adoption has suddenly increased since the spike of the COVID-19 pandemic. The world is in the middle of a crisis, people are losing income, and pet adoption should be the last thing on people’s minds, but what’s happening is the exact opposite. Animal adoption rates have doubled compared to the previous year.

Due to lockdowns and social distancing protocols, animal shelters have shifted from in-person adoption to video conference meetings to entertain pet adoption applicants. The whole adoption process can be done without face-to-face interaction. If they want to adopt a pet, all they have to do is submit their application online and meet with animal shelter organizers virtually. Once the adoption request is approved, the new adoptive parents can arrange a pet transportation service. This is so that their pets can be brought safely to their new home without risking themselves to the coronavirus.

Impact of pets on mental health

Self-isolation has made people more vulnerable to mental health problems which, if not addressed early, can lead to suicide. According to Dr. Elizabeth Reichert of Stanford Medicine, stress, anxiety, and depression were among the common mental health problems Americans experienced before the pandemic. And as expected, the number of people that have them has increased since the pandemic began.

No one is prepared for this pandemic, so the abrupt changes in everyone’s daily routine have taken their toll on many people’s mental health state. With so many things to fear about, not just the coronavirus disease itself, but 22 million Americans had already lost their jobs in 2020, which adds up to the anxiety of those who still have theirs that they will get the same fate in a few more months. The pandemic is still ongoing as of writing, and so are everyone’s bills.

The lack of face-to-face human interaction also adds up to the many factors of why people feel lonely and anxious during this time. Fortunately, people can resort to their pets for affection. Whatever pet you have at home, they sure can help reduce your anxiety and depression just by being there.

According to a study, dogs can absorb what their owners are feeling. This means that they have the ability to pick up your emotion. This makes animals qualified as someone you can tell your problems aloud to. Animals can be excellent listeners. They won’t talk back, though, but in some cases, that is all you need. Sometimes, people do not want advice; they just wanted to be listened to. Being able to release how you feel by saying them aloud can help relieve stress. And this can go a long way towards keeping your sanity while stuck at home.

2 dogs cuddling on sofa

And while you can not go for a morning walk with a human by your side these days, you can freely bring a fur friend with you whether they are on a leash or carried on your back. They can make a great company. In the same sense, touching another human being is discouraged during social isolation, but you can snuggle a healthy pet. Hugging your pets releases “happy hormones.” These are oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. These hormones promote happiness, pleasure, and more positive feelings.

They say laughter is the best medicine, and pets are often great at making humans laugh. No wonder animals have their own fair share of popularity on social media and sometimes on national TV—they are great entertainers. Their effortless cuteness and funniness can instantly lift and boost someone’s mood. If you feel bored at home, take a photo with your pet and share it on the internet. Who knows, it can make someone else’s day.

Given the numerous benefits animals can offer people, they must also be taken care of in return. Be a responsible pet owner and pay attention to their needs as you would do to yourself.

While pets can’t replace human company and affection, they can temporarily cover some gaps while the pandemic is proceeding.

Indeed, people find their pets helpful in coping with loneliness during these trying times by giving them more than just companionship. Along with it, they can offer both mental and physical health benefits by simply being around.

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