Adopting Pets During the Pandemic


A young girl cuddles with her adopted dog.

Cece Heine

Animals are the ultimate companions. They’re loyal, kind, entertaining, caring and amazing friends, so it makes sense that over the course of the last few months, millions of families have adopted animals as a way to bring a little more fun into their lives. However, there are so many more benefits to adopting a pet during the pandemic than just having a built-in friend that will leave you wondering why you haven’t adopted a pet already!

While many people in the Los Angeles area are currently seeking animal companionship, Los Angeles city officials expect a large influx of pets being dropped off at their local animal shelters soon, according to the Los Angeles Times. Officials believe this because pet owners will most likely be going through some financial hardships now or in the near future due to coronavirus, and might be forced to give up their animals despite any attachments they may feel towards them. Adopting pets during these hard times is an amazing way to help support local animal shelters and help them prepare for if/when this surge of pets comes.

A common irrational fear that may prohibit some people from getting a pet during the pandemic is the idea that pets will put you at a greater risk for contracting coronavirus. “At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19,” the CDC website says. “Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.”

The only part of the adoption process that carries any real risk in regards to contracting coronavirus is when picking the animal up from the shelter. If shelters are good about enforcing masks and social distancing, however, how is risk any greater than going anywhere else nowadays?

Pets also happen to be great for mental health and could help relieve the stress and anxiety that can occur from going back to school and/or the pandemic.

“Pets are a great motivator for people. Dogs especially are great at encouraging owners to get exercise, and this can be beneficial for those suffering from depression,” according to the Mental Health Foundation. “Pets can also have a calming effect on their owners. Just stroking, sitting next to or playing with their pet can give owners a chance to relax and calm their minds.”

Emma Lillard ‘24 recently adopted a puppy from Wagmor Pets. When talking about her adoption experience, Lillard said, “My mom and I filed an application, and we didn’t expect to get [the dog], but then [Wagmor Pets] gave us another form to fill out later that day, and then maybe an hour and 30 minutes later they said we got the dog.”

Dogs go extremely quickly at Wagmor Pets, according to Lillard, and when she and her family saw the pictures of a new shipment of dogs on the shelter’s Instagram one morning, they knew they needed to act fast if they wanted a chance at getting one. Lillard is thankful that her family acted so because having her new dog around has made her life even better than she had originally anticipated.

When talking about the various pros of her new pet, Lillard said, “It helps you get back on a schedule, because you have to take the dog on walks and potty train him and teach him not to bite.” While online school continues to provide challenges for both teachers and students, Lillard is still looking forward to her freshman year of high school with her new dog.

By doing something as simple as adopting a pet, you are supporting local animal shelters, taking care of your mental health, and helping yourself get back on a healthy schedule. Whether you want an enormous, playful dog or a tiny, shy bunny, your pet will make you smile more, and during these stressful times, what more can you want?