COVID-19 Leads More Students to Consider Adopting a Pet

by Nina Burns

Since the COVID-19 pandemic sprung in March, many individuals have been stuck inside their homes. Illinois new social distancing guidelines put a halt to in-person gatherings: creating a sense of loneliness for students stuck on campus. As the University of Illinois faces its first online-based semester, some students have found solitude in a furry friend.

Kareana Scherer, a Senior and the University of Illinois adopted a dog from the Humane Society after lockdown took place. 

“I knew life wouldn’t go back to normal for a while. When classes went all online, I figured it would be the best time to raise a puppy. I suddenly had time that I didn’t before.” 

Though the shelter in place order took place in March, the Champaign Humane Society saw the biggest spike in adoptions over the past summer. Mary Tiefenbrunn, the executive Director at the Champaign Humane Society, saw an increase in cat adoptions after running a promotion in August. 

“Dog intakes overall have been decreasing gradually,” Tiefenbrunn stated. “That trend appears to have continued this year.”

Adoption procedures have changed since the pandemic. If a student is interested in adopting an animal, they are now required to make an appointment. The Humane Society will remain closed to the public until the COVID-19 regulations cease.  

Though many students may be tempted to adopt a pet during the pandemic, Tiefenbrunn advises to consider all possibilities before making a commitment.

 “Be cognizant of the ways your circumstances might change in the months ahead.”

Tiefenbrunn knows that the pandemic can create unexpected changes in someone’s home life. A household may go through a schedule change. Households may experience a loss of hours at work or a complete loss of employment. She advises against adding a pet to the mix in the case of added stress. Tiefenbrunn does, however, encourage those who can take the step and adopt a pet.

“If the pandemic is not likely to impact you in any significant way, now could be a great time to adopt.”