Culture

Some students are finding comfort by adopting pets during isolation

Photo by Bruno Emmanuelle

Since the pandemic began, stress for everyone — including students — has been at an all-time high and students have been finding ways to cope with that stress. 

One way students at Boise State have been coping with the stress of the pandemic, school and work is by adopting a pet. 

According to an article written by the Washington Post, people all over the country have been adopting pets.

[Photo of a woman working on her laptop while her dog sleeps beside her]
Photo by Bruno Emmanuelle | Unsplash

“Americans kept trying to fill voids with canine companions, either because they were stuck working from home with children who needed something to do, or had no work and lots of free time, or felt lonely with no way to socialize,” the Washington Post wrote. 

Tessa Graham, a junior health studies major and a veterinarian technician at Boise Animal Health and Urgent Care, has seen an increase in pet adoptions by students since the beginning of the pandemic — an increase she contributed to herself. 

“With COVID-19, students have nothing better to do, so they’re adopting pets,” Graham said. “I adopted a pet, too. A pet gives you something to do outside of homework and provides you with emotional support.” 

According to Graham, adopting a pet is a coping mechanism to get through the stress many of us are experiencing. She thinks they lift an individual’s mood when feeling stressed. 

However, Graham says that in her work as a vet tech, many people don’t realize that pets require more attention than they initially thought, especially dogs. 

“Some people can’t handle the responsibility of taking care of the pet and so they have to return it,” Graham said. 

In Graham’s opinion, animals are really great for students to adopt given the right situation and she genuinely believes it’s a healthy strategy in stress reduction. 

Though many students are adopting pets because of the pandemic, Kyla Mead, a junior elementary education major, adopted her golden retriever puppy Bentley despite the challenges.

“I was thinking about getting a puppy for a while,” Mead said. “With the pandemic, I had so much free time, but I signed the contract with the breeder before the pandemic hit.”

According to Mead, the process of adoption was relatively simple. She was browsing Facebook in the summer of 2019 when a breeder came up. The timing was right for Mead, so she made the deposit. 

Mead was lucky enough to get her puppy at all, especially because so many other people wanted puppies from the same breeder and litter. 

Illustration by Abi Millet | The Arbiter

“If I had been a day later, I wouldn’t have gotten the puppy I wanted,” Mead said. 

Mead went into adoption with high expectation of how much work she was going to have to put in with a puppy, but Bentley has a fair temperament, so it’s been easier for Mead than she expected. 

Taylor Haken, a senior health sciences major, had a different experience finding a pet because she opted for adoption. She adopted a domestic shorthair cat named Tottsie from the Idaho Humane Society in Boise. 

“I had been thinking about adopting a cat for a while,” Haken said. “I needed some type of change and something happy. I found comfort in adopting a pet.” 

Through the Idaho Humane Society, Haken made an appointment to visit Tottsie. Once she saw Tottsie, she adopted her immediately. 

Tottsie is not Haken’s first pet, so she knew about what to expect when bringing a new animal into her home. 

“It’s been nice having an animal around,” Haken said. “It’s brought in a positive light during the pandemic.”

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