There are many benefits to adopting or fostering animals during “normal” times, when the world is not collectively going through a global health crisis. However, during the current Covid-19 Pandemic, there are even more reasons to welcome a new pet into your family. Sharing our lives with animals is good for our health. There are numerous studies that have shown the benefits of having a companion animal to provide love and comfort during stressful times. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol levels, decreased triglyceride levels, decreased feelings of loneliness, increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities, and increased opportunities for socialization[i]. Pets even have a powerful influence on maintaining health-protective behaviors in humans, such as eating well and going for walks. During especially stressful times, like during the current global climate we currently find ourselves in, these benefits are especially needed. At times when stressors are high, people are being laid off, depression and anxiety levels are up, people are fearful for their health and the health of loved ones, a companion animal may be just the medicine the doctor ordered.
However, when considering whether or not to adopt or foster a new companion animal, consideration must first be given to the animal’s well-being. Animals are not just commodities around to benefit people when times are hard. Animals love their human family members unconditionally and for their entire lives, they deserve the same love in return. Any animal you welcome into your family deserves a lifelong commitment. So before welcoming a new pet into your life consider your other obligations. Consider whether you will have enough time for your pet when you go back to work. Consider if you will be able to finance unexpected medical conditions that your pet may experience. Consider whether your family dynamic may change and make sure that your pet will have a lifelong place in your home. Guardianship of an animal is a lifelong commitment and must be taken seriously. If you find you may not be able to care for a pet through its entire life, fostering an animal is a great option. Fostering helps get animals out of the shelter system and into a home environment. Shelters can be stressful environments for pets. A quiet home environment can really help an animal flourish and display their true personalities which will likely help them get adopted. When you foster an animal, you are also opening up space in the shelter to allow other animals to be rescued.
There are many resources and shelters you can look into when looking for a new pet to add to your family. Please consider getting your pet from a rescue organization. There are millions of pets who need loving homes. A quick google search can easily introduce you to local shelters in your community. However, some great shelters to consider are the Toronto Humane Society, Second Chance Animal Rescue Society, Northshore Humane Society, and the ASPCA.
[i] About Pets and People. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html