Pandemic pets provide comfort

Spending time with furry friends during the pandemic


Hayley Breines

George posing happily

Jordan Fliegelman, Visual Editor

During the Covid pandemic, sitting home alone can get pretty boring. What’s better than getting all caught up on the newest show on Netflix? Maybe watching with a furry friend! Pets can have a positive impact on some aspects of mental health and wellbeing and be actively integrated into promoting mental health and wellbeing in situations where people are socially isolated and experiencing difficulties coping with adversities or negative emotions.

According to some shelters, there are many animals that were adopted in the span of the pandemic; although it wasn’t the biggest boom of animals adopted ever, a lot of furry friends did find a home. Kelli Kennedy, writer for, said “Approximately 12.6 million U.S. households got a new pet last year after the pandemic was declared in March 2020,” according to a COVID-19 Pulse Study by the American Pet Products Association.” Matt Bershadkler, the ASPCA President and CEO also said “This incredibly stressful period motivated many people to foster and adopt animals, as well as further cherish the pets already in their lives, and our recent research shows no significant risk of animals being rehomed by their owners now or in the near future as a result of the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions. Pets are still providing their families with joy and comfort, regardless of changes in circumstances, and loving owners continue to recognize and appreciate the essential role pets play in their lives.”

Looking back, we can see how pet adoption has trended in the United States in the past:

– Olivia B. Waxman wrote in the 2021 issue of Time magazine, “TIME’s Dec. 23, 1974, cover story on “The American Pet” declared that “the U.S. today is undergoing what can only be described as an animalthusian explosion” in which “pet ownership has become almost as sacred a democratic right as if it had been written into the Constitution.”
– Statistica reports that in 2018, the number of pet dogs worldwide was 471 million, and the number of pet cats was 373 million.
– “In 2017, Americans spent an estimated $69.4 billion on their pets, including animal purchases, food, medicine, veterinary care, grooming, boarding, and other supplies, up from $41.2 billion a decade ago,” wrote Orvis staff at

Comparing rates from 2012 to 2020 there are a lot of changes that can be seen.
– 66.5M households had a pet in end of year 2011 and into 2012, 84.9M households had a pet in 2019 into 2020
– Nearly 43.3M households had at least one dog in the end of 2011 and into 2012, 63.4M households had a dog between 2019 and 2020
– 36.1M households had at least one cat in 2011 and 2012, 42.7M households had at least one cat in 2019 and 2020

RAMPAGE’s Arts and Entertainment editor Hayley Breines adopted a dog during the pandemic, a four year old beagle named George. She admits that ever since she adopted George that her mental health has improved. When asked about her motivations to adopt a dog during the pandemic, Breines was motivated by her dog’s past. “George was tested for cancer medication research at Abbott labs.”

Most shelters will allow eighteen year old’s to adopt as long as a present day license is shown. However, some places might require a twenty-one year old. It’s never too late to adopt a furry, scaly, or winged pal. Go to a shelter and change an animal’s life, pandemic or no pandemic!