5 Reasons To Adopt Or Foster A Pet Right Now

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5 Reasons To Adopt Or Foster A Pet Right Now
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My husband and I got our first cat before we married… That cat was the first member of our family. He brought us joy, shared experiences, something to talk about, and a mouse and a bird (both of which survived the encounter).

Over the years, he balked at the idea of siblings. When we brought our first human child into the house, he hissed and hid under the bed for a decade. Well, he’d come out occasionally when the coast was clear from said child and subsequent children.

RELATED: What Having A Pet Can Teach Your Kid About Life, Love, And Yes, Even Loss

Sadly, our little ball of fluff passed away a couple months ago at a ripe old age.

My eldest child received a cat for her ninth birthday, and the second child decided she should get one when she turned nine, as well. Our oldest kitty died a month before her ninth birthday, and we weren’t quite ready to get another at that time as we were still mourning.

However, our “gift” to her was that a month or so into the future (during "kitten season"), we could go rescue a kitty from a shelter for her gift. She was ecstatic. The next day, we received notice of the need to “shelter in place.”

The last six weeks have seen a surge of pet adoptions. Apparently, everyone believes this is a great time to adopt a fur baby. Some shelters are even empty.

When we attempted to “make good” on the promise of a kitten, we found out that appointments to view pets in shelters were booked solid for weeks with a waiting list of over 500 people to get appointments.

We knew it might be months, if not longer, before we could adopt a pet through the Humane Society. But thanks to the internet, we were able to find her new little best friend this week.

Given the circumstances of the quarantine, it seems like an odd time to adopt pets. So, why are so many people adopting pets right now?

There are a lot of benefits to having a pet, which are quite good while everyone's stuck inside.

But even if you can't fully adopt at this moment due to your circumstances, you could consider fostering a couple pets who desperately need a home as shelters struggle to keep staff due to the lockdown.

This will give you the benefit of having a pet in your home to enjoy, as well as doing something truly great for animals.

RELATED: Dogs Are Basically Humans, Says Best Study Ever

Here are the 5 beneficial reasons to adopt or foster a pet during the coronavirus lockdown.

1. You're home, so you'll have time to devote to them.

There’s plenty of time to play, cuddle, pet, and bond with a pet since you’re likely to be home all the time.

If the pet needs training, you’ll have ample opportunity to do so.

Unfortunately, they won’t be as socialized with other people or animals like they should be in normal times, but they will certainly bond with their owners.

2. They will help fight feelings of isolation.

Pets are wonderful companions that offer unconditional love. As mentioned, some people think of pets as family members.

When the only social interactions you get are with people in the same house, you might feel the need to bring in another being to interact with. A pet is one more loving connection that wants to be with you, and that feels good.

3. They relieve stress.

Having pets, in particular the ones you can actually pet, lowers your stress levels. You receive a boost in positive hormones from playing with and caring for your beloved creatures.

Routines of walking and feeding them can create more structure in an otherwise structureless day. Some people may find that having a pet, namely a dog, alleviates some fears they have… The sense of security they provide is reassuring during this uncertain time.

4. It gives you purpose.

In attempts to find something, anything, to do, pets give you that.

Not only will they consume a few more hours in your day providing care and nurturing them, they might even give you an excuse to get out of the house. Some pets require walks or exercise… Some just require food that you get to go to a store for!

5. Everybody’s doing it.

I wouldn’t normally include this as a reason, but it seems like it could very well be the case. It’s the popular thing to do right now. Why use a meme when you can send a picture of your very own pet?

Perhaps you’re getting pets to entertain yourself, or posting images for the community around you. Maybe you watched Tiger King and decided to get a miniature cat that still feels like having a wild animal prowl your home!

There are certainly valid arguments against having animals, and adoption and fostering aren't options for everyone. Right now, society at large is adopting pets at a higher rate than previously done, so much so that you might run out of adoptable pets before the desire for them wanes.

Whatever your reasons for getting pets, you must realize the commitment to care for them should be for the lifetime of the pet. It’s a big decision to expand your family, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

For this reason, fostering animals might be a better choice, as you can get a feel for the pet you're helping and find out if they're a good fit for your family and lifestyle before you sign the adoption papers.

Otherwise, you can give them lots of love and care, then send them on their way to another family that they're a better match for.

If now is the right time for you to adopt or foster, I wish you luck and that you find the right one to love!

RELATED: This Is How Your Dog Really Feels About You, According To Science

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Amy Sargent is a licensed marriage and family therapist for over 10 years. For more information on her services, visit her website.

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