I’ve mentioned before how grateful I am to have my dog, Ellie, with me during the pandemic.
If you have a pet of your own, I’m sure you feel the same way.
But, if you haven’t opened your home to a furry friend yet, this is a great time to do so.
First, dogs and cats are natural stress relievers.
And less stress is something we all could use right now.
After just a few minutes of petting Ellie, I notice my shoulders aren’t so tight and my breathing is more even and calm.
And the research backs this up.
Multiple studies have found the simple act of petting a dog or cat can slow your heart rate, lower levels of the major stress hormone, cortisol, and help release “feel good” hormones.
So, if you’ve been feeling more anxious lately, a pet can help.
Dogs are especially good to have during the pandemic because they give you a valid excuse to leave your home.
Even if you’re under a stay-home order, you are permitted to walk your dog.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to leave the house with Ellie several times each day and breathe in the fresh outdoor air.
If you’ve lost a sense of schedule during the shutdown and are confused about what time it is, or even what day it is, a pet is a quick way to regain a regular routine.
With a cat or dog in the house, you can’t just lay in bed until 11am.
You have to get up and feed them, play with them, clean up after them.
They force you into a routine.
Now, whenever you bring home a new animal some training is necessary.
And, the new animal needs to acclimate to you and its new home.
This all takes time.
And what do we have a lot of these days? Time. Lots of time.
These days, most of us don’t have to leave the house to go into the office, so there’s plenty of opportunity to spend time with… and get to know,a new furry friend.
When the pandemic first broke out, there were reports that many animal shelters had been emptied out.
That’s no longer the case.
As folks have lost their jobs and are no longer able to care for their pets, there’s also been an uptick in animal surrenders.
Just writing that breaks my heart.
Plus, animal shelters have had to postpone or cancel adoption events due to the pandemic, slowing the rate they can get these animals into new homes.
If you’re willing and able, look into the website of a shelter near you.
Most shelters post pictures and a description of the animals available for adoption or foster.
If one piques your interest, set up an appointment to meet the animal.
And hopefully, you’ll end up with a companion as loyal and loving as my Ellie.
Stay safe out there.