It’s been over a year since COVID-19 has seeped into our daily lives, uprooting our schedules and routines, distancing us from others, and adding stress and anxiety to everyone. The lucky ones who own pets and are working from home can find relief in just a few minutes of interacting with our furry friends. And, if they are anything like my dogs, they will be sitting right by your side, filling in the empty space we feel and bringing much needed calm.

If you did not own a dog before the pandemic, there is a good chance you own one now. There have been so many pets adopted this past year that shelters are running out! The request to adopt dogs has doubled since last spring, and some shelters are saying they can barely keep dogs in stock.

People turned to adopting pets during this incredibly hard year because of what pets can offer to us. And, with more people working from home, there was more time to train and interact with their pets.

Besides being great companions, dogs and other pets offer us health benefits. Pets make sure you are never lonely, and lower stress levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. Dogs increase opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities when so much else was limited. You will always have a walking companion. Pets bring us joy, make us smile and laugh, they give affection and we give it back, making all of us better for it! If you allow your pet to sleep in your bed, you never have to sleep alone. Whether you are out all day or just for an hour, your dog will exuberantly greet you! You will be loved unconditionally!

Sallie Urffer’s happy dog, Jerry!

National Puppy Day is March 22, but it’s always Puppy Day in my house! My dogs are technically no longer puppies, but to me, they are my precious furry babies.  Whether you own a puppy, dog or other pet, National Puppy Day is a day to celebrate our fur babies.

Puppies are cuddly, snuggly, joyful, carefree, affectionate and totally trusting! Just seeing or holding a puppy makes you smile. What’s not to love?

Jaye Pascarosa’s pups, Peanut and Penny!

Here are some guidelines to consider before bringing a dog into your home:

  • Take your time and research.
  • Puppies are time-consuming and require commitment
  • They will have accidents in your house
  • Puppies might wake you up a few times during the night
  • Puppies can’t be left alone for more than a couple of hours
  • They can be destructive. Your home needs to be puppy-proofed
  • Consider adoption
  • Puppies (dogs, pets) are expensive (consider insurance. NCC offers pet insurance through Nationwide at very reasonable rates).

We teach our pets tricks but they also teach us many tricks. Deb Burak, NCC’s associate vice president and chief information officer, is among the many who say that their pet taught them patience. “Barley taught me to take time, slow down, stop and smell the roses (and other outdoor scents).”

Deb Burak’s fur baby, Barley!

As the editor of Pet-of-the-Week, I have seen the same comments made over and over when asked “What is the most rewarding aspect of owning your pet?” Unconditional love, loyalty, makes me smile and laugh are among the top answers.  And they ask for nothing back. They can read our emotions and they soothe us when we are sick or upset.

This has definitely been a year for soothing! So many pets have been lucky to have their humans home, but we, too, have been lucky to be home with our precious pets!

Cindy Woodling’s precious pup, Canjico!

Your pet can be highlighted in Pet of the Week by filling out this form.

Patti Canavan’s puppies, Cally May and Jameson!