Haley Hason holds her cat, Cleo. Cleo is shy around people and likes to be comforted. Friday, October 22, 2021.




Sitting on the floor of her on-campus apartment, nothing adorning the walls except a few posters and to-do lists, Haley Hanson knew something had to change. 

Her anxiety had grown over the past few months, especially during the pandemic with a majority of classes moving online, and Hanson knew that something had to give or her mental health would take a hit. 

The change came in the form of a torbie cat named Cleo with spotted ears and a fluffy tail and an Emotional Support Animal certification that allows Hanson to bring her companion on campus. 

In the beginning months of 2020, the Washington Post reported that a record 26,000 pets had been adopted country-wide, an increase of 15% since 2019. However, in April of 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, pet adoptions jumped 34% according to Shelter Animal Count.

Pets have always been proven to reduce anxiety and give owners a sense of strong companionship. Whether they have fluffy tails, wet noses or even scaly heads, pets of all shapes and sizes have helped create joy in owners. 

According to Health Guide, pets can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve cardiovascular health.

Hanson, who adopted Cleo in July of 2020, said, “When I saw her I knew I had to have her. Now, she’s my baby.”

While many pet owners believe it is best to purchase a pet from a breeder, that is not the only way you can adopt. Many animal shelters have foster systems and visiting hours to make sure that the pet you choose is the one perfect for you. 

Places like McKamey Animal Shelter, the Pet Placement Center, and ASPCA Animal Shelters all have adoptable pets who are ready for a loving home. 

While bred pets can range in the thousands of dollars, shelter …….

Source: https://www.theutcecho.com/features/pets-in-the-pandemic-utcs-four-legged-companions/article_95c358fe-2f73-11ec-b63b-33b0b03a89e2.html

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