Presque Isle Region

Pets have helped people cope during pandemic

It’s pretty safe to say that this pesky pandemic has affected each of our lives.  This week would have been our 11th annual Toast to the Animals, but unfortunately that won’t be happening.

Just like our Paws for the Cause Walk and our spring and fall booth at the Forum shows were canceled, and no doubt even Santa Paws will be as well. All of these fundraisers have been wonderful events that have raised much-needed dollars for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

To have our doors closed to the public for the past six months has been difficult, but our girls Betsy, Sharon and Heather have gone above and beyond in posting available pets on our Facebook page.  They have worked hard to keep the shelter safe and to accommodate the families who are interested in adopting.  

Even with our doors closed, the numbers of adoptions for both cats and dogs have been amazing (even bunnies and guinea pigs, too).  So we truly do thank all those individuals and families who have opened their hearts and homes to a new pet.

Pets have helped many people cope with the mental stress of being locked down during the coronavirus pandemic.

A new study finds that of 6,000 people in Britain who were under lockdown between March 23 and June 1, about 90 percent had at least one pet.  Of those, more than 90 percent said their pet helped them cope emotionally with the lockdown and 96 percent said their pet helped keep them fit and active.

“Findings from this study also demonstrated potential links between people’s mental health and the emotional bonds they form with their pets: measures of the strength of the human-animal bond were higher among people who reported lower scores for mental health-related outcomes,” said lead author Elena Ratschen, a senior lecturer in health services research at the University of York in England, according to UPI.

The most common pets were cats and dogs, followed by small mammals and fish.  But the strength of the human-pet bond didn’t differ significantly among types of pets — people felt as close to their pups as to their guinea pigs, according to the study published Sept. 25 in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS One. 

The study added that the most popular interaction with animals that weren’t pets was birdwatching. Almost 55 percent of participants said they watched and fed birds in their garden.  

This writer can certainly agree with that statement.  The birdseed and suet feeders are always filled at my home, and it is calming and wonderful to watch the endless variety of birds, woodpeckers and chipmunks that visit every day.  

If you are looking for that furry companion to add to your family, visit the Central Aroostook Humane Society’s Facebook page.  Call or message for an appointment.  

Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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