What was novel in March during those early Zoom meetings is now commonplace. A cat’s tail cruising past the computer screen. A dog barking in the background.
It’s common now, but pet interference during a virtual meeting still provides a light moment for colleagues who might be weary from the confines of a work-from-home environment and the stress associated with the pandemic.
It’s also our pets that are helping keep us sane during these months of quarantine, isolation, remote school and work. Mary Bower, professor of psychology, said pets provide a non-judgmental source of support to someone experiencing stress.
“Research suggests the relationship with a pet can help reduce feelings of stress, and can reduce the risk of depression, anxiety and other negative psychological effects of stress,” Bower said.
Our physical health is aided by pet ownership, Bower said, citing lower blood pressure, higher oxytocin levels and improved immune functioning as a few benefits.
Should you get a new pet during a pandemic? It’s tempting, sure, because of how much time is spent at home. Bower suggested thinking long-term and asking these questions: Can you handle the expense of the pet? When the pandemic ends, will you still be in a position to maintain your commitment to a pet in terms of exercise, affection and training?
Here, we offer a salute to the pets of GVM staff members, who are grateful for the companionship of their four-legged co-workers.