Countless studies show having a pet regardless of species benefits your health in myriad ways, including by lowering your blood pressure and improving your mental health. This is especially true now when many of us are feeling the impact of COVID isolation.
A recent bout of COVID left me isolated home alone with the cat for ten days. And it really got me thinking about how much a pet can mean to you.
My cat Miss Otis is a large, stern-looking, tortoiseshell, with a distinct raccoon mask around her eyes. She loves chasing balled-up pipe cleaners across the floor for games of fetch. She sheds multi-colored cat floof on everything, and unabashedly paws through our guests’ purses. She was adopted as a tiny, skinny, kitten from the Spokane Humane Society, where she had been dropped off in a taped-shut cardboard box that also contained a couple of other cats.
I never thought I’d write this sentence, but during my quarantine Miss Otis really helped keep me sane. She’d wake me up in the morning to get her breakfast while I’d get my coffee and read the paper. I’d update her on medical phone calls, give her my latest oxygen reading, and we’d look out the window together. When I was upset – or just blowing my nose a lot – she’d come running to check on me. We binge watched “The Queen’s Gambit” together as she begged for pieces of cheese off my plate, and I explained chess to her.
Yes, I would have survived quarantine on my own, but it made a huge difference to have her there.
As we take our first wobbly steps into 2021 – many of us still working from home - perhaps now is a good time to adopt that pet you have always wanted. Yes, it is a big commitment, and there can be many expenses, but the benefits to you and the lucky animal are plentiful.
If your house is already fully occupied by Whiskers, Baxter, Fido and Rosco, there are many other ways in which you can help local animal organizations: volunteer (call ahead and find out what the COVID rules are), donate a little cash (every single dollar counts!) or maybe buy them an extra bag of cat food.
Many animal organizations are desperate for foster families to help take care of young or recovering animals – this temporary situation is also a great way to find out if your household really is ready for that dog or cat.
Do you know someone who does amazing volunteer work for animals? Please let us know at CorpComm@AvistaCorp.com. Here at Local Treasures we’d love to feature some of the great volunteers who give so much to our community.