Pets helping people cope amid coronavirus pandemic

BOSTON (WHDH) - From social distancing, anxiety about the coronavirus, and financial worries, life is complicated right now. But experts tell us our pets just might be a key to helping us adjust to the stress of this new normal.

From Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pony and donkey keeping him company-

“So we stay home, there’s Whisky and there’s Lulu,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a video he posted on Twitter.

To Anthony Hopkins playing a recital for his cat in a video he posted on Twitter.

Experts say pets are the real stars of many households, helping us get through the social isolation of this pandemic.

“People often report that their pets are one of their most important aspects of emotional support and are really a critical way that they help cope with any type of anxiety,” Megan Mueller, Ph.D., Co-Director, Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction, at the Elizabeth Arnold Stevens Junior Professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University said.

Mueller said if you lost your job or are feeling depressed, keeping your pet’s daily routine gives you purpose.

“Often those routines involve things that are really good for our mental and physical health. Like going for a walk and doing these activities that are part of our normal life and help keep this sense of routine for us, for our children and for our pets. And so maintaining those routines may be in an important way that we help maintain our own mental health,” Mueller said.

And our pets are actually someone you can hug these days!

“Many of us are connecting digitally now via all kinds of different platforms. And that’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But having a pet that’s physically present there in the home with you can be a really great way of staying socially connected and providing that kind of companionship that you might be lacking during this stressful time,” Mueller said.

Mueller said if you’re feeling down you might want to try spending more time with your pet for a much-needed boost. Many people are also fostering and adopting animals right now as well.

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