This is an unprecedented time in world history. All over the world, people are mandated to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel to stop the spread of the corona virus. How can adopting of pet during a crisis ease the anxiety and boredom caused by confinement? Here are a few reasons.
Saving a soul
The Humane Society always encourages people to adopt or foster a pet, but especially in times of confinement due to a crisis. Many shelters across the country have placed record numbers of dogs and cats, and many applications are up by 50 percent or more. Why has fostering or adoption become so popular?
Having spare time
Most people not involved in “essential” work have plenty of time on their hands during lockdown. What better to fill the hours that a loving dog or cat that so appreciates not being housed in a cage but part of a family that has time to devote attention to it.
Wanting to help
We are involved in a situation which cannot be referred to as anything else than a crisis. Most people want to help where they can. Adopting a pet during a crisis can ease the burden on shelters that are currently being staffed by a skeleton crew, and is a great way that people can help.
A sense of normal
Fostering or adopting a pet during a crisis can help your family survive the boredom of a lock down, especially for children. Pets teach responsibility when it is a child’s job to feed and walk a pet. Schedules are established which bring structure and meaning to the day for everyone.
Pets can fill our extra time by demanding our attention, whether it be for fun, love or exercise. Shelter pets especially crave attention and we have time to give this to them during confinement.
Isolation and loneliness
Confinement brings particularly lonely times for people who live alone. Reaching out to friends and family is important. If you have a pet in your home, you will never be alone. The comfort and devotion that a pet offers is priceless in times of isolation.
The worry of getting sick and having financial issues associated with a crisis can produce great uneasiness and anxiety in many people.
Pets provide the comfort that produces measurable health results. It has been proven that being around pets can cause a chemical chain reaction in the brain that may help to lower stress hormones. It also increases the production of serotonin which is a hormone that makes us feel good.
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic, looked at 1,800 people between the ages of 25 and 64 who had healthy hearts, and found that almost half of them owned a dog.
All dogs and some cats require exercise and people need that too. This is something you can share with benefits all around.
Love and devotion
Most importantly, the comfort and devotion that comes with a dog or cat can be very settling to an individual or a family, and is proven to ease anxiety, give meaning and produce positive attitude to a family with a pet.
A pet can bring everyone together to love, play and exercise. A pet can bring companionship and build unity within a family unit.
How to care for your pet during the crisis
Take time to get to know your pet
Understand that your home is a “known” environment for you, but a new environment for your pet. They may be scared or overwhelmed at first, especially if they are an older dog. Give them the opportunity to choose a master. This is usually the one who feeds them or doles out discipline. Most pets bond to everyone but tend to gravitate to one person above others.
Have a plan for your pet in case you get sick
You should have a plan for your pet in case you develop symptoms of the virus. Someone should be available to care for your pet should you need to seek medical attention, isolate or go to the hospital. That person should be familiar with your pet’s feeding, walking and medication schedules.
Identify your pet
If your pet is microchipped, then register your information in the chip manufacturer’s database or make sure the shelter has your contact information, if for any reason it is separated from you. If not chipped, then be sure that your cell phone number is on a tag on your dog’s collar.
Gather supplies for your pet
You should have at least 2 weeks of pet food on hand and bottled water if you do not drink your city or county water.
You should visit your local pet store for fun toys and treats. Toys can provide extra exercise for home bound pets and treats can be used in training. Be sure and pick up some waste bags as well. Everyone should do their part to keep our green spaces clean.
Consider an all-natural pet calmer. The attention that your pet receives from a new family can over stimulate them. When it is time to chill, it may be useful to have something that will encourage your pet to calm down.
Address any medical issues
If your pet has any medical issues or requires medication or supplements, be sure you understand what you need to do to maintain their health. You can speak to the shelter or the shelter’s veterinarian about this.
Have fun with your pet
Have fun with your pet. Teach them a new trick. Everyone can be a part of this effort and it is certainly fulfilling to see your pet learn from you.
Wash and groom your pet. This can also be a family function that is fun for all. A clean pet is a happier pet. If fleas or ticks are a problem in your neighborhood, speak to the veterinarian about treatment.
Consider a long-term relationship
Consider a long-term relationship if you are fostering. The bond between a pet and its family is strong and can occur quickly. What a disappointment will it be for your pet to return it to the shelter once the crisis has passed. If you cannot accommodate a pet under normal, post-crisis environment, try to find a loving family for it.
There is no denying that the comfort and devotion that a pet will offer an individual or family will make any period of isolation more tolerable. Consider fostering or adopting a pet during a crisis and make everyone’s life better.