Mental health can be affected in many different ways. More recently people have found the pandemic left some people with issues such as depression, anxiety or high stress levels. In order to cope with this, millions of dogs were adopted to provide comfort in hard times. However, people did not take into consideration the amount of money and time Dogs consume, especially puppies. Dogs were given back to the shelters at an alarming rate for multiple reasons. Those who could afford the cost of the dogs could not provide the care needed when they went back to work after the pandemic. Those who could not afford dogs gave them up to shelters when the pandemic hit.
Researchers have shown that there is a strong correlation between not only your physical but your mental health as well. The connection between your pet and your mental health has been shown to positively affect people with poor mental health which spiked 25% during covid to the The World Health Organization. An online survey was conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk, where they found that those who have pets are more satisfied in life than those who do not. They broke the data down and found that dog owners scored higher showing that they have better overall wellbeing. This would explain why millions of dogs were adopted. Research also showed that There has yet to be many studies proving that there’s a positive impact on those with good mental health. This could explain why many people returned their dogs to the shelter after the pandemic because they no longer felt they needed that comfort they once needed.
Many people have looked to dogs for comfort for many years and this has been deeply researched by Gabrielle Marie McKeon who works with therapy dogs. In her article “Health and Happiness: Dogs and Their Therapeutic Value” she shares with us all the benefits that therapy dogs provide us with. Sigmon Freud, a credible psychotherapist, believed that dogs had the ability to sense tension, which they then respond to. During the pandemic households were flooded with tensions and could benefit from a dog according to Freud’s study. Therapy dogs work in many different places such as homes, schools, and hospitals. Liz Cleaves, owner and operator of Auntie Dog Training Studio, says she feels that training these dogs gives her “ a deeper and better relationship”(McKeon, 9). These dogs can range from all different types of sizes and breeds. A member from a TDI Certified Therapy Team said that one of the dogs was able to connect to a patient who was very self abusive and got her to stop hitting herself. Kathryn Kircher and her dog who is TDI certified stopped by a hospital and visited an older gentleman who was not commutative and depressed for a week. That man’s daughter thanked Kircher for bringing her dog to visit because they connected so much it made him “alert and upbeat”(McKeon, 28). Dr. Stuart Markowitz, the president of Hartford hospital says that ‘“the companionship that animals bring is vital to all of us
Although covid negatively impacted humans, dogs benefited tremendously. Shelters were being whipped clean due to the sudden increase in families and home owners wanting a furry companion during this time In the article “Human–dog relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic: booming dog adoption during social isolation” by Liat Morgan she discussed how covid had affected us and how dogs have helped. During Covid-19 there people were suffering from all sorts of health issues while being locked away in their house. Dogs and cats have shown to positively increase mental health. In stress-full positions such as the pandemic these pets have shown tremendous help with anxiety and depressions. Those who also deal with social anxiety whether the pandemic caused it or not will show lots of progress with a therapy animal. During the isolation there was a larger population adopting dogs. Studies have shown that humans and dogs are more alike due to the fact that we are both “social animals” where we can both benefit from one another. However the relationship between the two is bidirectional because we have shown to have negative effects on animals. There is a strong correlation between negative health and well being of the owner and the negative health and well being of the pet.
With all the information we have found throughout the years that prove therapy animals are beneficial, why wouldn’t someone adopt in an attempt to help themselves during the pandemic. It’s a win-win situation, until it wasn’t. Some people coped by getting pets and others found them to be more stressful during this crazy time. People found themselves unable to take care of their pets so they gave them up. This happened twice, once right when the pandemic hit and people couldn’t afford them which wasn’t as bad because there were people out there who wanted to adopt because the pandemic hit. However, the real issue happened after those same people went back to work and that cute puppy they got became another thing on the checklist you had to worry about. The further Morgan looked into this, she noted that there was an obvious difference between an “individual’s quality of life and their perceptions of their dog’s quality of life”. 312 people were asked why they had decided to get a dog in the beginning of the pandemic. 38.5% said they had been thinking about it for a while and thought this was the perfect opportunity. 37.8% said they were going to get a dog no matter what. 8.0% adopted in an effort to not feel lonely and 9.3% said they felt obligated after hearing about how others were returning their dogs.
The shelters were severely impacted by covid because of the amount of dogs going in and not as many going out. These shelters were ending up without supplies and room to house all the animals new and old. What happens with shelters that don’t have enough room is that they will have to refuse people who bring them in and those dogs end up on the street, in the wrong hands, or euthanized. Shelters are still recovering from the pandemic till this day. Unfortunately, way too many dogs weren’t able to find room in shelters.
Health and happiness: Dogs and their therapeutic value. (n.d.). Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://digitalrepository.salemstate.edu/bitstream/handle/20.500.13013/597/Thesis.pdf?sequence=2
Pets and happiness: Examining the association between pet ownership and Wellbeing. Taylor & Francis. (n.d.). Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2016.1152721
Morgan, L., Protopopova, A., Birkler, R. I. D., Itin-Shwartz, B., Sutton, G. A., Gamliel, A., Yakobson, B., & Raz, T. (2020, November 24). Human–dog relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic: Booming dog adoption during social isolation. Nature News. Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-020-00649-x
World Health Organization. (n.d.). Covid-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. World Health Organization. Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://www.who.int/news/item/02-03-2022-covid-19-pandemic-triggers-25-increase-in-prevalence-of-anxiety-and-depression-worldwide