Op-Ed: Animals can help the mental health for students during the pandemic


Clarecca Hargis

Pierre being a great motivator while working on my school work.

Clarecca Hargis, Reporter

Going to college during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging experience for students due to the transition from on campus to online schooling.  Learning courses online has not been easy for students who struggle with focusing in a normal classroom setting. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, students have experienced an increase level of stress, anxiety, and depression. However, a furry friend could help alleviate loneliness and motivate a student to excel in school.

Many college students have shown an increasing amount of mental health related issues due to the pandemic. Social distancing has also caused physical health for students to tank. Animals are known to relief stress and dogs in particular are known to help with cardiovascular exercise. Just like humans, pets have personalities and are able to sense a persons feelings. Adopting a pet during the pandemic could help be a great motivation booster to get back into the routine. According to an article published by Forbes, Healthcare expert, Jackie Rocheleau, there has been a large number of pet adoptions since the start of the pandemic. Pet adoption during the pandemic will not only save you from social isolation, it may also be a leading cause for your own success.

Following social distancing procedures can get lonely, especially if you don’t have a partner to help you get through your day. My dog Pierre is a great emotional reader, he knows when I’m sad, stressed, or even when my anxiety is at an all time high. As a communications major, my strong suit is English and my weakness is mathematics. Taking statistics during COVID-19 was a nightmare for me and I was constantly stressed over possibly of failing my class. During finals week, my anxiety caused me to have a surprised appetite and I had no sleep schedule. Pierre would come lay his head on my lap reassuring me that everything was going to be fine. Without my dog I most likely would not have passed my class. His reassurance gave me comfort and I was able to complete my course with a passing grade.

Animals are well-known to bring happiness and joy to any household. Dogs in particular are great pals for staying motivated and keeping you on track with your physical and mental health.  I highly recommend adopting a pet from a local pet shelter as opposed to purchasing a pet through a pet breeder. Bakersfield has three pet shelters, SPCA, Kern County Animal Services, and Bakersfield Animal Control. Adopting pets from these shelters include Castration of the pet as well as all of their shots for a small rehoming fee.  Your future pet is waiting for you, go down to the shelter and fall in love with your furry friend.