During the COVID-19 pandemic, pets took on a more important role in students' lives. Many students found themselves spending more time with their pets because of quarantine.

“While being stuck at home, I spent more time with my steer and dog. The reason I spent more time with them is because we were preparing for the fair and my dog Milky Way was watching over us and making sure we were safe,” junior Trenna Dold said. “I also spent more time with our cow-calf pairs, checking on their eyes and making sure none of them got sick.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, pets can help people exercise, go outside and socialize more. 

“When we were in quarantine, I had my brother and sister to socialize with, so a few things we did didn't revolve around Lilly. We did go on walks at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve a few times during the two weeks,” eighth grader Daniel McLaren said. “If we didn’t have her, Liz would be in her room all day, and Andrew and I would be playing video games all day. We would be getting no exercise, but with Lilly we all took part in exercising including my mom. Lilly doesn’t play very much anymore because of how old she is, but she loves to go on walks.”

It has also been shown that pets can help decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and loneliness by people regularly walking or playing with pets. 

“I have two pets, a dog and a cat. Throughout quarantine I have often relied on them for emotional support. They have enjoyed having me at home more often,” senior Aidan Shaw said. “My pets are very affectionate and I enjoy spending time with them when I have to stay at home. Both of them are very old and I have been very fortunate to have them with me during these difficult times.”

There were also many students who got pets throughout the pandemic and some even got them for Christmas. 

“I’ve wanted a rabbit for a while now and I thought that Christmas time was coming around and with all the stuff going on in the world a rabbit was a great way to liven it up a little bit,” freshman Kinzie Rogers said. “It has definitely brought some joy to me and he’s always pretty happy which makes it fun to play around with him.”