By Kassidy Hart–The coronavirus hit campus hard last spring when in-person classes and sport seasons were cancelled.
But this summer, students experienced a better type of pandemic. A pet pandemic! To combat the feelings of loneliness that quarantine brought, many students chose to adopt a furry companion to keep them company throughout this restricted time.
“We had been interested in getting a cat for a long time. But it was never a good time. One good reason was to help our mental state, which was suffering after the effects of quarantine,” junior Jade Guzman said.
Guzman’s intentions of looking at cats at the Animal Adoption and Rescue Center wasn’t originally to adopt. She and her boyfriend had visited the center just as classes started in hopes to lift their spirits, but found an unexpected connection to one of the kittens.
“We saw Ossa lying on the dryer and immediately fell in love and couldn’t leave without him,” Guzman said.
With the limitations and health risks that going out during this pandemic presented, new pet owners were able to stay home and focus on their pet’s transition more closely. This was a benefit to the dogs’ general well-being.
One student, senior Tauna Mayhorn, adopted a Teacup Yorkie Schnauzer mix, Stormi, back in June from a friends’ cousin who had used the dog for breeding. When they brought her to the vet, they found out that she had kennel cough and irritable bowel syndrome.
“I was home all the time with no place to go and no one to hang out with while my boyfriend worked all day, so Stormi got a lot of attention when she first came home with us,” senior Tauna Mayhorn said.
Even though these owners were focused on their pets becoming a part of their family, they saw many more personal benefits to having a new pet. The pets brought a light of optimism and joy to the darkness of the global pandemic.
“When things seem tough, I can always rely on my dog, Charlee, to put a smile on my face and give me a sense of comfort,” junior Kayla Harris said.
Though a constant comfort through the long summer break, going back to school has proved to be a bit more challenging this year for some of the students’ who live on campus, away from their pet.
“She is so young and getting back into school had been tough training her while dealing with school,” Harris said.
Yet, the owners understand how lucky they are that they get the extra time with their pet, being able to watch their personalities grow and spend time with them in order to create a deeper emotional connection.