Demand in pet adoptions has surged as owners find ways to help ease stress and boredom amid coronavirus restrictions.
Animal adoptions have increased more than 30 per cent compared to this time last year and the numbers aren’t dropping, according to the RSPCA.
“We were planning on getting a puppy next year, in January – everyone works full time, so the Christmas holidays would have been the best time for us,” Miss Stuart said.
“I’ve been stood down and my brother is still at school, studying from home. So, we thought now would be the perfect opportunity to be able to train her.”
Miss Stuart worked as a cabin crew member for Qantas, which stood down 20,000 employees earlier this year in response to the economic impact of coronavirus.
The health benefits of adopting a pet
We know that physical distancing, job losses, managing learning from home and other impacts of COVID-19 can have negative mental health impacts – owning an animal can be a comforting and rewarding experience.
“Animals don’t judge us, they’re not worried about coronavirus, they’re just doing their thing,” Clinical Advisor at Beyond Blue Dr Grant Blashki said.
“While we’re all engaging in a very digital world, especially while following physical distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic, having a pet can help reconnect us with nature, provide some valuable companionship and be a quality source of entertainment.”
An RSPCA spokesperson said most new owners have always wanted a pet and the current climate has presented them an opportunity to adopt.
“Now is a good time to adopt and welcome your new best friend into your household as you are home to ease the initial transition period,” the spokesperson said.
“Animals provide love and companionship, which is something people may feel they need an extra boost of while in isolation.”
Miss Stuart says Polly the pup has brought their family closer together.
“Since having the pup, isolation has been so much better,” she said.
“Polly gives us all something in common to do each day – play with her, train her and it also gives us the opportunity to be at home with her while she’s so young.
“My parents only recently got back from Peru after spending 25 days in lockdown and paying $5,000 each to get home – they already love her.”
There are currently 645 dogs and more than 1200 cats available for adoption at RSPCA shelters across the country.
“Please remember that all adoptions are commitments for the life of the animal and that there might be some adjustments needed once we leave isolation,” the RSPCA spokesperson said.
“People need to factor in their pets into their long-term plans and make sure they are able to provide for them once things ease back into normality.
“This includes making sure all your pets have access to food, water, shelter and appropriate exercise – making time for your pets is critically important to their well-being.”
If animal adoption isn’t for you, there are other ways you can keep your mental health in check.
Jackie Hallan, Head of Service Delivery at ReachOut says to can start with something simple “like waking up at the same time each day to try and establish a new routine”.
“For many this is a very difficult time when it comes to dealing with emotions such as grief and loneliness,” she said.
“At ReachOut we are encouraging people to take a proactive approach.”
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