The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on a lot of stress to the average American family, not only with physical health problems, but also mental and social issues. However, even now, man’s best friend has always been by our side. Studies have shown that owning a companion animal benefits mental health. Just like with people, interactions with animals can help with depression, anxiety, and stress, all common ailments right now. And with the restrictions placed on human interaction, what better substitute was there? That’s why, since last March when COVID-19 first hit, the Hawaiian Humane Society has seen a multitude of new adoptions.
Even some Kaiser students have adopted. This past fall, junior Jolie Ku adopted a guinea pig from the Hawaiian Humane Society. With all club activities postponed, she was bored and “wanted to do something, and thought getting a pet would be something fun to do while I’m at home,” she said. Ku took on the responsibility, and now feels BB, the guinea pig, was a great addition to her family; not only did the adoption encourage maturity, it was also a factor in improving Ku’s mental health. “She made me happier and more fulfilled,” Ku said.
Pets are great for doing lots of things: exercising, talking, and hanging out with them. Even just their presence can be comforting for those who are often alone at home. Usually these activities can be done with friends, but pandemic restrictions make that difficult, leading to loneliness. Junior Zara Komo said that although she isn’t able to see her friends or participate in sports, her dog keeps her busy, making her go on walks and visit the park. “It was good being outdoors more and keeping active still,” Komo said. Her dog is her greatest motivation in keeping fit because “I know she needs to stay active too,” she said. That small companionship also helps “whenever I feel stressed or anxious,” Komo said. “I know I can rely on Ellie to cheer me up or calm me down.”
As we continue to persevere through the pandemic, a furry friend isn’t so bad to pass the time with as long as you can take responsibility for them.