By Alison Harner ‘24
With 2020 being a stressful, unsettling year filled with different sorts of restrictions and disappointments, people have been turning to furry friends to help them cope with the negative emotions plaguing them during this unprecedented time. This is perfectly understandable, as a new puppy can bring joy, can help create a sense of a routine, and can raise responsibility. Maybe the best part is the fact that people are staying home due to the pandemic, so they have unlimited time with their new furry friend! But maybe that convenience will soon become a major issue.
Unlike humans, puppies do not have much of a grasp on what is going on in the world, so as far as they are concerned right now, their new family has decided that it would be nice to spend most of their time with them; however, with more communities returning to some type of normalcy, these puppies, who have experienced constant companionship for the majority, if not all of their lives, will soon be experiencing a whole new reality, which may be a difficult transition. Animals do not transition as easily as humans when it comes to social situations such as this one. Unless they have already made progress in returning to normal life, it will not be a smooth change back to normal for those who have adopted in the past year. It is likely that not only puppies but all pets might have trouble being separated from their owners for long periods of time.
Interestingly, although they are getting plenty of attention and playtime at home, it has been noted that many dogs are acting with more aggression towards vets or other dogs that they come across. This is due to a lack of socialization with others of the same species, as not only humans need interaction to remain mentally sound, dogs need it as well, and if interactions are lacking, they often become more aggressive and anxious, sometimes even depressed.
The animals may not be the only ones with trouble, though, as people often underestimate the care and dedication it takes to raise a healthy and happy dog. They see the animal as something that will keep them occupied and look cute for pictures; however, dogs require a lot of maintenance, and with communities returning to school and work, people may find themselves struggling to find the time to keep track of themselves and their dog.
Though we all saw the exciting news that shelters all across the country were being emptied, we may begin to see the opposite in the next few months, as people begin to realize that they might not be cut out for the work.
Though no one should be scared about adopting a furry friend during this time, please be aware that dogs are living beings and require more than just food and water. Otherwise, they are still lovely companions and provide some much-needed joy and friendship during these difficult times.