The love between Humans and Pets

By Emma Wolf

You know that feeling you get when you make eye contact with a dog and you can almost feel the dog smiling at you as you pet this loving and loyal animal? The dog locks eyes with you and in that moment, all your other thoughts dissipate. However much money you made on your last paycheck, your seemingly never-ending To-Do list, all the things you wish you could do over in your life, all the ways in which you have fallen short of being your best self-it all becomes meaningless as soon as you feel the unmistakable bond you are sharing with the dog. Pets and people need each other. This is a fact that has only been found to be more true throughout the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. A 2021 ASPCA survey concluded that one in five households in the U.S. have acquired a new cat or dog since the beginning of the pandemic, due to the simple fact that more people are working from home now than before. The “Covid crisis” has stirred feelings of uncertainty, worry, and even fear in many people. There is nothing more calming than feeling your warm, purring cat snuggle up against you and make your worries melt away, even if only briefly. Pets provide people with feelings of love, comfort, and emotional security, as well as companionship-which is something that everyone needs, especially during these trying times.

On a more local level, the Hinsdale Humane Society has seen roughly a 30% increase in pet adoptions since March of 2019. This has resulted in lengthy waitlists as soon as new cats and dogs become available in the humane society. In 2019, there were 1,225 adoptions. That number grew to 1,401 in 2020. Now, as the end of 2021 draws closer, the humane society is on track to surpass 1,500 adoptions, which will be their most successful year thus far. The Hinsdale Humane Society’s Training and Enrichment classes fill up instantly with pet owners looking to nurture their newfound love affair with their newest additions-their pets. The humane society also recently launched their BJ Chimenti Angel Fund for Veterans and Pets, a program that cultivates the human/animal bond to provide ongoing emotional support to military veterans and those actively serving in the military, as well as military families. With this rapid surge in pet adoptions comes the looming question that has crossed many minds: what happens when the world goes back to normal? In other words, what happens to all the adopted pets when their owners return to the office and can no longer spend time at home?

Despite the fact that many Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, the vast majority of pet owners are finding ways to incorporate their new pets into their lifestyles, showing the true dedication and commitment these owners have for their pets. “Our recent research shows no significant risk of animals being rehomed by their owners now or in the near future as a result of the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions,” said President and CEO of ASPCA, Matt Bershadker. “Pets are still providing their families with joy and comfort, regardless of changes in circumstances, and loving owners continue to recognize and appreciate the essential role pets play in their lives.” If you are thinking about adopting a new pet, now is truly the ideal time! Being at home more than normal has forced people to slow down and focus on the things that truly matter. These things include feelings of love, loyalty, and companionship, and animals are the best demonstrators of these feelings.