Pets as Comfort in 2020

written by Elyse Berman, CRS
Palm Beach County, FL   
Dec 1, 2020

Family & Community


2020 has been a year none of us will soon forget. Having a pet has been a great source of comfort to more people than ever this year. Pets have always been a source of comfort to people, but even more so during the pandemic. That's why shelters have fewer cats and dogs for adoption today.

Pets offer us many things. Pets help to ease loneliness. They really do. If you're alone, having a pet is having another living, breathing companion in the house. Someone to take care of, someone to walk, nurture and feed. They're a constant companion. Dogs will follow you from room to room all day. I find myself talking to my dogs. Some people may think it's crazy; I don't think so. Dogs truly understand. If you're watching, you will see it in their eyes.

Dogs give people a reason to get up in the morning. You have to walk the dog. You have to get up, get dressed and get out. It gets you out of the house where you will likely meet other dogs and their dog walkers. It's fresh air and exercise for both of you and maybe even some socialization—socially distanced, of course!

Pets offer us a sense of solace and calm when the going gets rough. Our pets have an innate ability to understand and sense our moods. If you're feeling down or you're sick, they understand. They will stick by your side until you're well, helping to comfort you along the way. They just want to please. They'll sleep with you and watch out for you.

When you're anxious, pets will calm you. Stoking the fur of a beloved cat or dog or whatever animal is calming in and of itself. It has been proven that animals help to reduce blood pressure, anxiety and even depression in humans. For a depressed person, having an animal takes away feelings of being alone, because they are not alone.  These are emotional support animals, and they are a lifesaver for some.

There are also specially trained dogs who are trained to perform specific tasks. They can be taught to alert us to seizures, turn lights off and on and even take clothes out of the dryer. These are true service dogs trained to help the disabled, and they do a wonderful job of it.

Pets offer unconditional love. They want nothing from us but to be loved.

The positives having a pet can do for humans is nothing short of amazing.  How often I have seen a dog go in to save a family after they suffer a terrible loss, yet the family feels they saved the dog. In truth, they saved each other...

2020 has been the year of the pandemic. It's been an unprecedented year. Having dogs got me through this year. They're wonderful companions. I'm certain it has done the same for countless others. Pets have truly been a lifesaver as comfort in 2020, and it's not over yet. I know I will always have dogs. It is my hope that people who have found solace and gratification in having a pet for the first time this year will continue to do so for many years to come. We depend on our pets and they depend on us.

Elyse Berman, PA, CRS  is a Pet-Friendly REALTOR® who has been helping people buy and sell homes for the past 16-plus years. She serves Palm Beach County, Florida.  Check out her blog.