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Wellness

It’s Nice To Have A Friend: How Owning A Pet Can Help You Through Hard Times

In Ancient Egypt, it was common for citizens to keep animals in their homes, especially kittens, since it helped them fight rodents that not only destroyed the harvests, but also contributed to the proliferation of diseases in the region. When the citizens realized that cats were the solution to control the rodent population, they began to treat them as family members and true divinities. Aside from the historical context, it is a fact that even today there is a legacy of this tradition of adopting family pets, since living with them can provide better quality of life and help people overcome difficult times.

Stories of pet adoption during Covid-19 became a hot spot in both news and social media broadcasts. With the country pushed into the unknown by the omicron variant of the coronavirus, millions of Americans welcomed pets into their homes since the first shutdowns in March 2020. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), more than 23 million American households adopted a pet during the pandemic.

It happened due to the fact that during the outbreak, the absence of a routine, lack of interaction with other people and the change of scenery affected people’s mental health and, luckily, they were able to find comfort in bringing home a pet.

It is scientifically proven that having a pet at home helps reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression considerably. According to a study conducted by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), of 2,000 people with pets, 74% reported improved mental health as a result of their relationship with their pet, and 75% reported improved mental health in a friend or family member due to the presence of a pet. In addition to that, it is worth pointing out that living with pets provides peaceful moments, allowing people to disconnect from their problems and reality.

Giovanna Santos, 18, is a pet lover who has two cats and a dog. In 2020, she faced a period of mourning after losing her sister and experienced social isolation, which contributed to the development of her depression. In one of her therapy sessions, her psychologist advised her to adopt a pet so that she could feel less lonely. “With my three little animals I can feel protected, and when the negative feelings and thoughts come, my pets companions are always there to help me,” she said in one of her Instagram posts.

Therefore, it is evident that having a pet at home is synonymous with having a friend who, with lots of care and love, gives back to you in many ways. Pets have a special place in many people’s hearts and lives, and several studies show that interacting with pets can be beneficial to the physical, emotional and social well-being of humans. Moreover, it is important to highlight that on October 4th is celebrated the World Animal Day, which aims to promote the importance of preserving the life of species, ensuring dignified conditions and the maintenance of their rights: quality of life, welfare and health.

The article above was edited by Lethicia Lioi.
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Ana Carolina Teixeira

Casper Libero '25

A Latin American student of radio, tv and internet whose passion is writing, reading and treating others with kindness :)
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