The Surprising Way Pets Can Help You Feel Better During The Pandemic

While the quarantine period was hard on all of us, leaving us holed up at home right when spring was springing and we all wanted to be out and about, it did have one surprising upside. No, we're not going to say family togetherness, since despite all those sappy commercials, we all know that sometimes too much family time can be... well, not such a good thing (Fox News confirms what we've long suspected: the lockdown led to a huge surge in divorce cases.) We're talking about all of the quality time you got to spend with the one "person" on earth who's guaranteed not to get sick of seeing your face day in and day out — a fur-person, that is.

Your pet was undoubtedly thrilled to bits to have you underfoot (or, more likely, be under your feet) all day long. The pleasure, however, was not just theirs. Pet ownership is a two-way street, it seems: in exchange for feeding, walking, and cleaning up after them, our fur friends provide us with needed comfort and morale-boosting during tough times such as pandemics (and divorces). According to a survey of 2,000 pet owners conducted on behalf of Zoetis Petcare (via Fox News), 72 percent said that they relied on their pet's company to get them through the quarantine, and 81 percent said that going through this "ruff patch" together made them feel closer than ever to their animal companion.

Pet ownership in a post-quarantine world

Now that things are returning to more-or-less normal, with many people returning back to the office, some pet owners are worried that Fifi and Fang are likely to become depressed by our now-unaccustomed absence. In response, many of those polled said that they plan to alter their schedules or lifestyles in order to better accommodate their furry loved ones. Over half (56 percent) said they'll be minimizing their social activities to spend more time at home (probably a good idea for general health and safety reasons, as well), while 42 percent say they intend to keep working from home (ditto on the safety aspect). One-third of poll respondents said they'll try to take their pets with them whenever they leave the house.

One thing 17 percent of poll respondents said they planned to do is to adopt another pet to keep the one they already have from getting too lonely. Well, they may have to wait a while to find the right companion animal, since there's been a huge surge in adoptions both during and after the quarantine period. The Seattle Times reports that shelters nationwide have seen a steady stream of people who've suddenly found the time (and the motivation) to add a pet to their lives. As one new pet mom put it, "It's just something new and happy to look forward to... He's always a joy to come home to."