Pets

Pets are Good for Our Mental Health in this Pandemic

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The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly messed up any sense of normalcy that we have known in the past. All our plans have been canceled or altered and our equilibrium has been shaken. The uncertainty that this pandemic brought has also taken a toll on our mental health and people are just finding ways to deal with their different issues. One of the effective ways of achieving mental wellness in this pandemic is taking care of pets. Find out why pets are good for our mental health in this pandemic and the rest of our lives.

Why Pets are Good for Our Mental Health

I first met Ms. Charina Ynayan in a talk organized by the Green Ranchers Club of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod. This amiable, down-to-earth lady, who is passionate about fur friends and animal rescue, was the resource speaker.

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~ Ms. Charina Ynayan with one of her cats. She is a staunch advocate for animal rescue and pet adoption in Bacolod City. ~

Charina talked about how having pets was good for her mental health. Struggling with depression and anxiety as well as family problems, she had internal battles that many do not know of. At least, her scars were invisible.

Her dogs became her closest friends and allies. They gave her love and a sense of purpose in her life. Moreover, she had a fur friend that needed exercise, so she was “forced” to get up and go out every day to walk him. That enough gave her daily exercise as well—one of the things that a person suffering from depression should be doing.

She said, “Pets make you feel needed. It’s that feeling that you have to get up because somebody needs you.”

Mission: Animal Rescue

Charina’s love for animals led her to a higher purpose: animal rescue. She used to spearhead the Bacolod Chapter of the Island Rescue Organization. They rescued animals at risk and took care of them until new homes were found for them. They just laid low during the pandemic because of the risks as well as the limited time of the volunteers.

Nevertheless, Charina continues to take care of her fur friends at home and also occasionally connects rescued dogs and cats to new owners.

Meanwhile, Bacolod mom Althea Mauricio related that when she was still working in Manila, she felt homesick that she decided to buy dogs. “I first got Chibi and Star and eventually had Choco. They kept me sane because I had company.” Living independently, Althea finally had “somebody to go home to.”

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~ Mommy Althea’s dogs Chibi and Star were her home companions while working in Manila. ~

At present, Althea has passed on the love for animals to her daughter Akee, a fellow Bacolod homeschooler. They have 3 cats and 4 dogs–all of them rescued or adopted. They also have hamsters.

The Mental Health Filipinos in This Pandemic

During the pandemic, the physical health, as well as the financial wellness of the general population, has been compromised. Although we cannot see nor quantify mental health, we know that the problem is very real.

A PhilCare CQ Study was conducted during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period last year. A total of 800 respondents were included from different areas and sectors nationwide. Here are the highlights of the study:

  • 95.9% of Filipinos were worried about the health of their loved ones.
  • 9 out of ten respondents (89.9%) were “anxious about getting COVID-19.”
  • 49.1% reported that their sleeping habits had “gone bad.”
  • 45.5% said they were having difficulty concentrating on daily tasks.
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~ Pets have been great company for humans in the social distance created by the pandemic. ~

The uncertainty plus the daily problems brought about by the pandemic have really changed our lives and shaken us all. And during this time, many people took up different hobbies in order to emotionally and mentally cope with the existing situation.

Some became experts in the kitchen, serving delicious homecooked meals to the family or using it as a means to earn a living. Others joined the plantita craze, as plants have also been proven therapeutic and beneficial for stress management and mental health, in general.

Others found solace in community service, setting up pantries everywhere in order to help others in need.

Why Pets Play a Big Role in Our Mental Health in this Pandemic

A study from the University of New York found that “nearly 90% of pet owners reported that their pet had helped them to cope better emotionally during lockdown.” (source) And ever since the pandemic broke out, there has also been an unprecedented increase in pet adoption in the United Kingdom. Animals can be such great company in the midst of social distancing brought upon by the pandemic.

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~ Shane with her aunt’s toy poodle. ~

Pets are unassuming and so trusting. They can sleep without a care in the world. Depending on the kind of animal you keep, most are so cute and adorable, too, that it’s hard not to swoon over them. Aside from taking care of hamsters and always playing with their aunt’s dog, my daughters are really fond of animals. They also watch a lot of cute animal videos on YouTube.

In the past, we know that kids can learn a lot from having pets. They learn responsibility and gain a fur friend. In this pandemic, however, having pets is the next best thing to seeing their friends and classmates. Face-to-face learning has been completely suspended until further notice and they miss the company of other kids. Their pets can somehow fill that emotional void, at least to some extent.

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law Margaret relates, “(My) pets are stress my relievers. Connecting with them, seeing them happy, and being able to understand them would change my focus. They remove my focus from within to their cuteness and little world. Their life’s satisfaction on the NOW satisfies me as well.”

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~ Margaret has a 6-year-old Shih Tzu named Badger and a precocious hamster named Ginger. ~

Finding the Perfect Pet

Many people turn to dogs because of their loyalty. After all, dogs are considered man’s best friend. Meanwhile, there are those who prefer cats because of their interesting “personalities.” Some kids like bunnies because of how cute they are.

For those who are allergic to fur, there are fish, turtles, and even hedgehogs or reptiles. You can take care of them without having to deal with sneezing fits every day. I have a turtle.

There is really no perfect pet, except for the animal that is perfect for you, your personality, your personal or family budget, as well as your lifestyle. But getting one just might be the boost you need for your mental and emotional wellness.

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~ Even having a couple of goldfish in a bowl to feed and see every day can already relieve your stress. ~
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16 thoughts on “Pets are Good for Our Mental Health in this Pandemic

  1. ang mga pets natin ay may malaking ambag sa ating buhay… ngbibigay sila ng kasiyahan sa atin.. nagtatanggal minsan ng ating lumbay

  2. Pets are considered as our friends And companions in this difficult times.It gives us happiness in times when we experiencing loneliness and sadness. We should take care of them because they are like humans that need love and care.

  3. Nakakatanggal ng stress at anxiety ang magkaroon ng pets dahil nararamdaman mo na di ka nag iisa. Na may karamay ka sa mga nararamdaman mo at alam mo na may nag mamahal sayo at ito ay ang iyong pet

  4. Thank you for sharing this article Mommy Sig 😊 napakasarap kasama ng mga pet lalot nagbibigay ngiti sila sa panahon na malungkot tayo..

  5. Nakakawala po talaga ng stress ang mga pets, nakakatuwa sila makita araw – araw at kalaro na rin, tinuturing ding pamilya ang mga pets gaya ng mga anak ko kapatid din raw nila yung dog and cats namin. 😅
    Sobrang nakakatuwa sila lalo na pag naglalambing sila 😊

  6. Our pets really helps us a lot , specially this pandemic, I enjoy my time with them, nalilimutan ko kahit sandali ang problema.

  7. Iba Talaga ang Saya ng May Alagang Hayop Sa Bahay lalo na sa panahon ngaun..Nakakapagbigay sila ng sigla at saya sa Bawat isa Sa atin..Lalo na ngaun na stayin sa work si Hubby..Tanging Si baby lang at si Koykoy (pet cat) lang kasama ko sa bahay.

  8. It was in May that I got my first little chicks to take care of. There was nowhere to go to and nothing to do much at home. So when my elderly neighbor offered her chicks for rehoming, I willingly accepted them in hopes of starting a farm and getting some organic eggs in the midst of the pandemic. It was over 8 months before I got my first egg 😂 but it was a lot of fun and and so gratifying! I had to learn a lot about growing a chick into a laying hen. Till now, I’m still learning something new! 😁

  9. Good for mental health and stress reliever talaga ang pagkakaroon ng pets. Na iiwas ma stress at ma bored talaga na ngayong pandemic❤️

  10. Our furbabies are main source of happiness & stress-reliever of the whole fam, we also consider them as part of the family ❤️ I can’t imagine our daily life especially in this time of pandemic without them. We have 4 dogs and they always gives positive energy & joy to our home ❤️ And also, in this pandemic we always made sure that we give them the proper care & treatment that they need. 🥰

  11. Really Agree with It.Napakalaking tulong po talaga ng pets sa Mental health natin lalo na ngayong Pandemic.Sila yung kahit na anong problema na meron tayo they still their on our side.

  12. Agree ako dito ka nakakawala ng stress and anxiety ang Pag aalaga ng mga pets,makapag ehersisyo kapa dahil kailangan mo sila ipasyal din na parang tao…kaya maganda talaga sa mental health ang Pag aalaga ng pets

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