One silver lining to come out of the coronavirus pandemic has been an explosion in pet fostering and adoption. People across the country have stepped up to support local shelters and adopt pets. Not only do they get the feel-good benefits of helping animals in need, but they also get a furry, four-legged health booster.

The link between pets and health is stronger than you might think. A furry friend may be the key to a happier and healthier you.  Some of the benefits of pet ownership are reduced stress, lower blood pressure, higher good cholesterol,  and a greater sense of companionship.

Pandemic puppies and other pets have been helping people to cope with feelings of isolation and loneliness during this turbulent year. It is a fact that feelings of loneliness are a major contributor to conditions such as depression or anxiety. For this reason, everyone, especially those who live alone, can truly benefit from a cuddly four-legged addition to their home. No wonder so many people adopted dogs and cats since the beginning of COVID.

We have had our dog, Chipper, for about ten years. We got him for our son when he was ten. Now in college and living in a house with other boys, Luke and Chipper are inseparable. These young men are often home all day, taking classes online.  Other than going to work, they are isolated from typical college life. They do not get to be out and about on campus or go to practices, events, parties, or any of the other fun activities that come with college.  Chipper has been a comforting companion for my son during these unusual and uncertain times.

If you are considering getting a pet for yourself or your kids for the holidays, be sure to understand the costs, the time, and the effort a pet requires. Also, research the type of pet that is best for your family. Another word of advice. I lived through this one. If your kids promise they will take care of the new pet, you can pretty much assume that they won’t so just be prepared in advance (I am talking to you, Luke).

While pets are a lot of work and a big responsibility, the love, joy, and companionship they bring into our home are priceless.  Just be ready to clean up a few messes.

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