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Adopting a Pet is a Great Antidote to Loneliness – But Consider These First

photo of a golden retriever with tongue out underneath blanket on the bed

By: Laura Bennett

The one person unaware of coronavirus in your house is your pet.

Okay, so they may not technically be a ‘person’ – but in these times they’re the members of the family more of us are turning to for calm reassurance, and a legal cuddle.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the RSCPA reports rates of rescue-pet adoption and pet store purchases have soared, with ‘isolation pets’ now a legitimate apocalypse accessory (fact-check it!).

However, while some may just be jumping on the therapeutic bandwagon of pet ownership, at PSTD Dogs Australia, they’ve long known the benefits of a ‘fur baby’. Their dogs are trained to bring comfort to traumatised humans.

Charity Ambassador (and mum to Oscar the cat), Tamara Wrigley explained, “Our services are really based around our first–responders: the Defence Force, Army and also ambulance and police officers.

“Anyone who goes to those ugly scenes that they see, eventually suffers from PTSD. And it doesn’t come on straight away – it could come on in a year’s time, or two year’s time, and what we do at PTSD Dogs Australia, is train dogs to come into their homes to help them have a better life.”

“The dogs get trained to recognise if the human’s having a night tremor, or a nightmare, and they’ll come in and rest on that person, just to give them that love and that comfort.”

Pets Can Help Us In Isolation

photo of a hand stroking a kitten's head

During the COVID-19 crisis, with many people understandably experiencing more anxiety than usual, households are finally getting that pet they may have always wanted.

“We’ve got the time now,” said Tamara. “If you unfortunately don’t have a job to go to, parents are home, children are at home from school… now you can spend the time in training [your pet], and getting them used to your home, as opposed to buying one or adopting one on the weekend and then, ‘back to work we go’.

“The pets are going to absolutely thrive because they’ve got you with them – be it for two weeks, three weeks, or six months.”

“There’s so many great pets out the in refuges… already trained, already mature – they’re just looking for their next home to settle into.”

Tamara does warn those thinking about adopting a furry friend, to consider how the pet will fit into their lives long-term.

“It is a big commitment, having an animal,” said Tamara, “because it is like having another member of the family. While now you might have the time, you’ve got to look at what your situation might be like down the track if you have to go back to work and the kids go back to school. Is that pet still going to be ok at home?

An older pet can be a good solution for a family, says Tamara, because they don’t need quite as much attention as a baby or ‘toddler’ pet.

“There’s so many great pets out the in refuges… five-, six-, ten-year-old pets that have been surrendered, or abandoned, or their carer can’t look after them anymore. They’re already trained, they’re already mature – they’re just looking for their next home to settle into.”

4 Questions to Consider Before Adopting a Pet

photo of two dogs sitting in a pink dog bed

1. Do you have a fence big enough and strong enough to keep a dog in?

2. Interact with the pet before you decide to adopt it: do you get along?

3. How sociable is the pet you’re considering? If you already have other pets, find out if the new has been housed with other animals before.

4. Can you afford adopting? Assess the time-cost and financial cost of training, and owning the pet long-term.

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

About the Author: Laura is a media professional, broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.