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OPINION: Shelters are filling up again, people abandoning their quarantine pets

By Paige Blasi

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people stayed in their homes and even worked online. With the idea that we would be at home for some time, many chose to adopt pets from shelters. The shelters were eventually completely empty. When people had to return back to work a lot decided to send their pets back to the shelters. The benefits of having a pet around can range from physical health benefits, positive impact on kids, and also mental health benefits. 

Frequent life changes allowed people to abandon their pets. During quarantine, many people decided to get an animal since they would be spending most of their time at home. Getting a pet is a big responsibility and you have to take in all of the considerations of what life used to be. “…many people added a pet to their life during the Covid-19 lockdown, they are faced with having to go back to the office and the pet not fitting in with this changed situation.” ( Life was changing very fast and it was different, but it can’t be used as an excuse to abandon your pet. Pets owners need to consider their future and their plans for when life would get back to normal. It would not be fair to send your animal back to the shelter simply because well-thought-out planning was not there.

Having a pet around will switch your lifestyle. That is one of the main factors to take into consideration. Physically owning a pet, “can increase opportunities to exercise, get outside, and socialize. Regular walking or playing with pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels,” according to the CDC.  Activities like walking, playing, and running will keep your pet healthier and make you healthier. Also caring for your pet will force you to go outside which is just beneficial on its own. Along with going outside, being in nature is a great way to improve your mood, get vitamin D, and increase brain function. 

Many people want to have a family at some point in their life. Making your kids happy and teaching them life skills is a vital part of parenting. Looking back on life, childhood pets hold memories that stick with you forever. “Pets also bring new responsibilities. Knowing how to care for and feed an animal is part of owning a pet.” ( Owning a pet is a big responsibility. Feeding, exercising, and visits to the vet are all things that need to be done to keep your pet healthy. Having a pet teaches kids a new kind of skills compared to everyday activities. They can enlist a new sense of responsibility and teach them about recognizing behavioral signs. If a pet starts to feel stressed or anxious, it can learn to recognize that and show comfort. Kids experience compassion front-on and can transfer that feeling to similar situations. 

Mental health is becoming a bigger deal in this day in age. Covid-19 has isolated people in their homes and increased mental health problems. “The pandemic led to a 27.6% increase in cases of major depressive disorders and 25.6% increase in cases of anxiety disorders globally.” ( Poor mental health is hard to improve and can cause a lot of problems in your everyday life. Anxiety and depression can ruin relationships, and cause problems at work, feelings of sadness, and anxiety. “Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. Playing with a dog, cat, or other pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.” ( Pets give you a companion and improve your mental state. Loneliness can be filled by their presence, along with helping depression and anxiety. 

Physically and mentally the benefits are shown in studies. Helping kids to have life learning skills is also there in having pets. Time management and considering the future is a big take before getting a pet. When the time is right and you want a friend, it is a great way to improve how you live your life!

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