Honoring the Unsung Heroes of COVID-19

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One common denominator of this continually unfolding pandemic experience is the shared rethinking of our lives and a sharper picture of things we may have taken for granted. With all the heartbreaking and heartwarming impact, above all, this time period has helped so many of us reassess what really matters and remind us of the importance of getting back to the basics. 

Among those “basics” is our awareness of the company we keep. It’s not surprising that over the course of the last seven months, as more and more people were required to remain home and uncertainty grew, the ASPCA recorded record numbers of dog adoptions and fostering. Kennels which had been full to capacity began emptying out and started fielding waiting lists for families and individuals looking to infuse some furry love into their lives.

Demand for dogs right now is “totally unprecedented,” says Sarah Brasky, the founder and executive director of New York-based nonprofit Foster Dogs Inc.

In Los Angles, a nonprofit shelter the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, adoptions were double their usual rate in late June, with 10 or 13 adoptions a day! 

Tale after tail has made their way to the human-interest sections of the news, and more importantly into the hearts and homes of so many families across the globe, helping to keep humans healthy and sane during this unprecedented period. Dogs could very well be the unsung heroes of this pandemic for so many. 

Every Reason to Show Up to Life 

When we no longer have to wake up every day at 6:30 to go to work or school, why keep a routine? Because…as we all know and have read the studies that prove: keeping a routine provides structure and the bones to a meaningful and stable life. 

Come ‘ere Fido! Who needs to be walked three times a day, on schedule? Who needs to be fed twice a day, on time? Being responsible for another creature’s wellbeing, in a time-sensitive and steady way is an amazing motivator for humans to build a schedule into their otherwise topsy turvy day.  

The Power of Love

Hand painted portrait from photo of beautiful white, fluffy dog.

Research has proven that a lack of relationships, social isolation, and loneliness contribute to depression and anxiety. While pets may not replace human interaction, their unconditional love, warmth, and loyalty can provide the companionship, connection, and sense of purpose so many of us need so dearly.

 These furry friends have an uncanny way of giving us the sense that despite it all,  life is very much worth living; infusing positivity and goodness into our lives, with an unconditional sloppy smile and a wagging tail. 

“We’ve found that when everything’s so crazy out there, it’s been really nice having them around – they remind you that life goes on,” says pet owner Rachel Conlisk.

Especially for individuals living alone, more isolated than ever, a dog’s warmth and companionship have proved to be downright essential. 

Did Someone Say Walk? 

Hand painted portrait from photo of beautiful black lab dog.

As the regulations governing staying at home became more and more restrictive, the one non-emergency exception was the dog walking allowance. Thanks to the call of nature, dog owners have a legitimate excuse to walk around the neighborhood, get their daily dose of Vitamin D, breathe some fresh air, and ensure that they get at least basic daily exercise. This has created a quite literal lifeline to the outside world for so many of us homebound humans.

Stories abound about people who “borrowed” their neighbor’s dogs to help with the walking. Bless these four-legged walkers for keeping us fit and getting us outside!

And restless kids who need a break from too much screen time…wanna play catch? Race? Snuggle? Family dogs have occupied our kids and provided a much-needed energy release and all-around happier kids. 

Natural Stress Relief 

Beautiful hand painted portrait of man and his dog

The US National Institute of Health reports that “interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.”    

Just like brick and mortar zoos have been installing webcams around their animal houses so that home-bound humans around the world can continue to benefit from the stress-relieving activity of simply observing adorable animals, actually having and engaging with an animal in one’s personal life goes a long way to reducing stress and anxiety during these uncertain times. 

Celebrate the Memories That Matter!

Hand painted portrait from photo of beautiful little girl and her German Shepard dog

As more and more people become devoted to their four-legged family members, a new and beautiful tradition is growing; making space for and honoring these sweet creatures that give our lives so much joy and meaning.  Celebrate the furry family! 

Paint Your Life, offers a unique and meaningful photo to hand-painted portrait platform that is trending among dog lovers as the ultimate source for gorgeous and lifelike portraits of our beloved pets. After sending in your favorite photograph, Paint Your Life’s team of talented portrait artists work with you to create the perfect hand-painted portrait of your best buddy. Because we all need reminders of the simpler things in life; the things that bring us love and joy. 

The collective hope of the world is that we will quickly conquer COVID-19. Until then, and even after, it seems clear that things will not go back to exactly the way they were. The importance of a canine companion in the home has taken on a greater role than ever, and that’s worth celebrating.