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Pets Are the Unsung Heroes of The Pandemic

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNT chapter.

My grandmother jokes that all of the animals in our household are our live-in therapists. She’s absolutely correct! My sister and I both own cats, who are both official emotional-support animals. I adopted mine specifically to be an emotional support animal to help me in college.

According to the CDC, owning a pet can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as decrease triglycerides, a type of fat. They even reduce levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone.

One study in Britain found that 90% of people reported that their pets helped them cope emotionally with lockdowns and being away from others. The study also found that the closer people said their emotional bond with their pet was, the lower they reported their baseline mental health symptoms.

As early as April 2020, more people were adopting and fostering animals from shelters. The president of the America Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) said that they had an increase of 70% in animals going into foster care compared to the previous year. One viral video showed shelter workers celebrating in a completely empty kennel room.

Even though some in the rescue and adoption business worried that many pets might be returned, the trend in adoptions and fosters hasn’t fallen. As of January 2021, some shelters have even had trouble getting enough dogs to meet the demand.

Shelter Animals Count, which runs a database that tracks shelter and rescue activity, looked at pet adoptions during the pandemic. They found a rise of about 15 percent compared to the previous year. At the Human Rescue Alliance in D.C., they have a waitlist for people that want to foster animals.

Many more people that worked from home were able to spend more time with their animals, and according to the experts, that could be one of the best things to do during a very stressful time. For so many who are going to make work-from-home a part of their lives from now on, the addition of a new family member was a very good decision, indeed.

Madison Snider is a senior at the University of North Texas, studying to get a Bachelor's Degree with a double major in Digital and Print Journalism and History. She is disabled and wants to bring awareness to issues facing disabled women and students. She loves to wear colorful eyeshadow and use makeup to express herself creatively. Madison hopes to be a journalist in the news industry after graduation.