Adopting a pet can boost your well-being

Especially during lockdown, animal interaction improves mental health

By Christine Kim

Everyone experiences stress and deals with it in their own way. However, adopting a pet is shown to significantly help with anxiety, depression and overall mental well-being, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Junior Hannah McGoran adopted a dog right before the COVID-19 pandemic, welcoming a new and exciting experience.

“My family had been planning on adopting a dog before the COVID-19 crisis, and it ended up working really well because we have been able to give our dog the attention she needs,” McGoran said. “When I am stressed, petting my dog or just watching her run around makes me happier.” 

Freshman Natalie Uren is in the process of adopting a dog, something for which she has been waiting a long time.

A new addition to the family is a great way to bring happiness to everyone. (Illustration by Christine Kim)

“I’ve been wanting to adopt because shelters are really overcrowded, and lockdown is the perfect time,” Uren said. “Like a lot of high school students, I get stressed and interacting with my dog will be a great way to take my mind off things and relax.”

A survey from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute revealed that overall pet owners have seen an improvement in their mental health since adopting. Numerous benefits apart from mental health improvements include  physical health improvements, child development support, and help with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and autism. 

Freshman Anaya Patel encourages other people to adopt, especially since lockdown is the perfect time.

“Everyone’s home so they can all help with caring after the pet,” Patel said. “They need a lot of time to get used to them and train, and the shelter-in-place is convenient for that.”

Similarly, Uren also thinks that if anyone had plans to adopt, they should go ahead and do it now.

“It’s been proven that animals help a lot with the general well-being of the owners,” Uren said. “Especially during this crisis, pets can keep you company and keep you occupied.”

According to NPR, some rescue shelters are seeing a tremendous increase in applications. Homeward Trails executive director Sue Bell said that foster applications have risen to more than 50%.

“Adopting a pet is a huge commitment, and it comes with a ton of challenges,” Patel said. “However, it’s so rewarding. We’ve gained a new family member that we love.”

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