The Stinger Rewind: How Pets Helped Us Through 2020

In the midst of a global pandemic, the world was on lockdown for a year in March of 2021; thus, many people all over the world have turned to their pets for comfort and emotional support. Stay-at-home orders have been urged for in the state of California now, as well as throughout the previous year due to COVID-19. With millions of people struggling with their mental health in the United States alone, companionship through quarantine is high in demand–with the exception of those who prefer the solitude of isolation at home.

As claimed by HelpGuide in an article going into detail about the ways pets can benefit human health, domesticated animals have developed in such a way that they can read the body language and tones of their owners, and consequently understand what their owner is feeling in terms of emotion. It was also mentioned that pets may boost one’s cardiovascular health, on top of reducing depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness.

An immense amount of pet owners have sought out happiness and comfort from their animals over the many months they have spent in quarantine, and they continue to do so as the pandemic continues on. Cam High senior Dylan O’Loughlan feels as though he is fortunate to have pets at home, and agrees with the fact that animals are mood boosters, as well as adequate emotional supporters.

“People who are smart stay home or rarely go out, making it hard to socialize. We all need someone to lean on, even if times were not as hard as they are right now,” said O’Loughlan. “Even after a long school day, coming downstairs and playing with my pups makes everything seem a little lighter. Petting your dog actually releases endorphins into your brain. Life would be horrible without my dogs.”

Regarding the people who can safely say they have fared the pandemic with a pet alongside them at home, the majority of them would rather not live through these hard times alone, and many of those who have been in isolation without companionship available to them are more likely to be struggling with their mental health. Victoria Bates, a senior at Cam High, has had a foot in both worlds, and is thankful to have acquired a pet of her own when times grew tougher in quarantine. She strongly believes that the animals are more beneficial than their owners are aware of.

According to Bates, “In the beginning, I had no pets, and it was super difficult being alone and lying in bed all day, but later as time passed, my family got us a dog, and she helps me stay active, happy, and I do not think I would be where I am mentally without her. Animals can be very therapeutic: they can feel your emotions, and they can cheer you up so much without you realizing it; they are a friend and family together, not just an animal.”

Ultimately, COVID-19 has forced the world into a state of panic, but pets offer support during these times that the virus simply cannot take away. With socialization currently and progressively becoming more difficult to engage in, people who are suffering will more than likely continue turning to their trusted animals for company and emotional help.