The coronavirus pet adoption explosion is reducing stress

During a pandemic, people can be stressed and fearful for their lives and the lives of those they love. Research has shown that where there is a bond between human and animal, the presence of a nonhuman companion — especially a dog — decreases psychological arousal and stress, and creates physiological changes that make us feel better .

Pandemic Pets

In the early stages of the COVID-19 epidemic, there were large numbers of pets abandoned in Wuhan in ChinaMany animal rescue groups were afraid that this would also happen in their locality. They set out to empty all of their sheltersAdoption and foster care have increased at an unprecedented rate worldwide.

Many people, unknowingly, did this to help the animals. This, in turn, helped them maintain a better mental state during the pandemic. Having a pet can have a positive impact on health-protective behaviors such as walking or eating healthy.

Dogs or cats can help increase the physical rehabilitation goals by exhibiting behaviors such as ” Bending, Reaching, Ambulating, and using both arms to provide food, drink, and grooming.”

When stay-at-home orders are required in many areas, having a dog at home can reduce feelings of frustration and anxiety. (Shutterstock)

Relationships between humans and animals

As the COVID-19 epidemic began, I was just starting a study that asked people about their relationships with their nonhuman companions. This online survey includes people aged between the late 30s and early 90s. The people are from Canada, England, Ireland, and Wales, as well as the United States. A third of them have not completed high school, 30% have finished college or an apprenticeship, and the remainder hold a university degree. Almost all of them spent their time at home when the survey was conducted. Some were alone, while others were with their family, and others had pets as their only companions.

In an open-ended response to the question of how it was having their animal companions around during the pandemic, they used words such as “comforting,” “good/great,” and “helpful”. Several people stated that they worked full-time, so they enjoyed the time they spent with their animals, getting to see all the things their pets did throughout the day. Many people said they wouldn’t be able to live without their pets.

Some participants said that their pet is a source of joy and salvation. Some participants said that they talked with their pets and that it helped them avoid loneliness.

Artificial pets?

It was fascinating to note that robot pets were provided to older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In my survey during the COVID-19 pandemic, respondents were asked whether, given the choice, they would choose a robot pet or a live animal. Out of 102 people who answered this question, not one of them said they would prefer a robot pet — even those who currently did not have a pet did not want a robot pet. The vast majority said they would like a live pet, and a few said that they would rather have no pet at all.

When asked, they replied, “It’s not just about companionship.” It’s about the emotional connection. It is not love to get this from a robot. We need to feel the love that these pets bring.

Washington Post comparison video between Sony’s Aibo robot dog and a real puppy.

This survey’s results are similar to the findings of non-pandemic studies: Pets help to reduce loneliness, and living with pets encourages people to become more active. Even if this is just the movement that comes with simple tasks like cleaning the litterbox or filling the food bowls, these nonhuman friends are our greatest comfort. A dog or cat at home can be the only thing that separates an isolated person from despair.

When developing programs for isolated people, it’s important to keep in mind the importance of dogs, cats, and other nonhuman companions. It is not uncommon for people to feed their dogs before buying medication or food for themselves when there isn’t enough money.

In the face of the reality of sustained unemployment, public services must consider the food security of their human companions as well as the nonhuman ones. This will help prevent a possible tsunami of pets being abandoned due to a lack of care.

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