I read a funny little quip on social media early into our social distancing period that lamented our human response of ‘being over it’. The post then acknowledged that the only beings in our homes truly happy about everyone being in these close quarters are our pets.
In the Hinote household, we have 3 dogs, yes, three dogs. As someone who didn’t grow up with many pets, and neverhad pets in the house, my dogs are kings of our home. They have the run of the yard and every room, and they couldn’t be happier to have me with them.
As many of you know, I have just finished a weeks-long recovery from surgery, and after a brief stint back at work, like you, I am back at home. I am trying to figure out how to work at a distance from school and how to maintain a schedule. I am also trying to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.
If you have pets at home, I am sure that you feel the same way about yours that I do about the three of mine. In an April 2018 Psychology Today article, the benefits of having pets are outlined. While I am not advocating pet ownership, I do think this is a wonderful time to be reminded that the furry members of our households can help us.
- Stress Relief: In a study with college students who had the opportunity to interact with therapy dogs, as many as ten hours later, participants reported less negative emotion and less stress.
- Empathy and Comfort: Studies indicate that dogs sense emotions, both good ones and bad ones. They are drawn to us, especially when we need them. Dogs are often reported to remain at the side of a human who might need them.
- Decrease Loneliness and Depression: At a time when we are physically distanced from each other, and social media does not replace needed face-to-face interactions, studies also show that pet owners have a lower rate of depression.
My dogs have been by my side these past four weeks and are competing for lap space with my laptop. I am extremely grateful for them, and I do believe they lower my anxiety and help with my overall outlook.
Rely on your pets for these great benefits, and give your fur babies a hug from me!
Head of School