The coronavirus pandemic hit us all hard, but we often fail to recognize the toll taken by certain categories of people who weren’t “directly” affected. Namely, those who are single, live alone, and older. Those of us who live with family or friends already have a circle of support: people who are going through the same emotional distress that we feel ourselves. But there’s another category of people who are faring better than everyone else: pet owners.
There’s good news: even though the end of this pandemic is in sight and it doesn’t matter as much anymore, you can still adopt a cat or dog for reliable companionship. These organizations are still open for business. Animal shelters will always be busy. They can also set up virtual meetings online.
Freya McMurray’s parents brought home their new puppy, Dolly, in February 2020 — and they were all locked down together less than a month later. But they used that time to bond with her and train her.
But not everyone needs a cat or a dog to feel that kind of a connection. Farmers who use cattle primarily for milk or chickens primarily for eggs know the feeling all too well: these animals can become like best friends if you let them. And there’s an extra benefit to befriending cows and chickens: they live outdoors, which means that’s where you go to visit. And being outdoors can release happy hormones in the brain which leave you feeling even better at the end of the day. The tiny bit of exercise you get by playing with animals doesn’t hurt either.
Although the pandemic is nearing its end, we might still be asked to remain socially distant for some time, and a COVID-19 diagnosis will still mean a two-week period of isolation at least. That means it’s the perfect time to pick up a new friend!