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Pandemic Pets

Jamun in a basket of zero-waste mala's

“It is a great time to adopt because you can really get to know the pets’ needs before returning to a more normal routine”. – Julie Castle, Chief Executive of Best Friends Animal Society.

As people spend more time at home due to the COVID 19 pandemic, pet shelters across the world have witnessed increased rates of adoptions and interest from individuals looking to adopt or foster. These “pandemic pets” are providing comfort and relief to people – having essentially become emotional first responders.

Pets benefit people by providing a consistent and proximate source of calming support and companionship, particularly during times of crises. An increasing amount of research highlights the benefits of pets on mental health. Having pets offers a deep sense of ‘ontological security’ – providing purpose, stability and continuity to one’s life, as well as alleviating anxiety, stress and loneliness.

In the middle of a crisis, many pets found their forever homes. Untold weeks of pacing the same home, and talking with and seeing the same limited number of people is overwhelming. The idea of a cute, cuddly companion, is incredibly appealing. Further, working from home gives new pet owners the unique opportunity to bond, and become more attached and attuned to their pets than if they were seeing their animals for only a few hours a day.

Having a pet helps. Having something to focus on, and setting up a new routine is nice. Waking up early to feed Jamun, or play with her, and seeing her do things for the first time makes us happy.

Jamun in a khadi ‘post-op’ gown, after being spayed

However, while it can be a good idea to adopt a pet during this time (and while the decision may be beneficial to both humans and pets in the short term) – it is important to consider the long-term impacts of the decision, and consider carefully whether you are ready for pet ownership. Some questions to think about carefully: what type, size and temperament of animal is best suited to your home and lifestyle needs, what life is going to look like post-pandemic, or when lockdown restrictions are lifted – people might not be able to walk their pets, or spend as much time with them (pets also have separation anxiety), and whether you can afford to give your pandemic pet the care it needs – emotionally, as well as financially.

When making a decision about introducing a furry member to your family, contemplate adoption or rescuing over buying. Adopting from shelters or local rescue organisations saves more than one life by freeing space and resources for another animal in need.

Jamun joined the Sonya Sapru Designs family in July, when she was adopted from Paws for a Cause ncr. She has given us incredible gifts of joy and levity in these extraordinary times, and we are incredibly grateful for her.

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