The Pros and Cons of Pets


Amanda Chang, Staff Writer

Although pets can make trouble, they can be what makes life joyful. Now that students are doing school online, it is interesting to study how pets are affecting how students are learning and if pets are more of a distraction or a comfort.

This past August, during quarantine, my family adopted our first furry pets—rabbits. They have definitely proved to be a pretty big distraction since I visit their enclosure any time I should be doing something productive. Although they live in an enclosed area, they constantly need to be watched when we let them out since they are small and enjoy chewing on things like plastic. This means that when I want to spend time with them and they are allowed to explore, I cannot simply sit and do homework. 

Bird owner sophomore Joyce Ng owns two birds named Pineapple and Coconut. 

She said that Pineapple “sometimes feels the need to scream” during her extracurricular classes, interrupting her and the teacher.

Although one might not initially believe that caged pets are messy, Joyce added that birds actually require some clean-up, especially when they eat seeds or when their feathers molt and fall on the floor. Birds, like dogs, also need to be groomed, have their wings clipped, and get their nails trimmed, all of which are things that Joyce and her parents have had to do since the lockdown began.

Pets that are not enclosed can be a distraction as well. 

Sophomore Charmaine Wong said that although her dog, Obi, does not usually cause disruptions while she is in school, he has “barked really loudly and wouldn’t stop” and can be distracting. 

Some other cons she listed about having a pet include having to wake up early to take care of her dog. She said that if she ever wakes up late, she still needs to take care of her dog as well as herself. Obi also needs to be played with or walked daily so that he can be stimulated and be tired enough at the end of the day in order to sleep well at night. This can be hard for pet owners, especially students like Charmaine, to balance with their own needs.

But pets are not all work, trouble, or distraction and are often needed for happiness. Often, like most students, I feel stressed about my homework, grades, and other aspects of my life. But, my rabbits help me to forget about all those worries. Taking care of them can be troublesome, but it is great for keeping my mind and hands busy. 

Sophomore Jenna Cheng, who owns a tortoise and a rabbit, said that having pets “gives you something to do. It gives you a schedule. Someone needs to change the rabbit, feed the rabbit, you gotta take care of the tortoise, you gotta chase after the tortoise.” 

Jenna also said that if you find animals cute, they can be a stress reliever to pet or talk about with your friends.

Charmaine said that Obi gives her family something to bond over as they share things that he does and has helped her to learn responsibility. For Joyce, her birds serve as a source of entertainment and company. Pineapple can mimic some sounds, speak a couple of words, and likes to bob his head to music. Joyce enjoys training Coconut to fly and do tricks.

Jenna, Charmaine, and Joyce all said that pets are a great way of relieving stress and being happier. 

Charmaine said that she would “take care of [Obi’s] health anytime if [she] could have that stress relief.” 

“Studies have shown that even small interactions with dogs cause the human brain to produce oxytocin, a hormone often referred to as the ‘cuddle chemical.’ Oxytocin increases feelings of relaxation, trust, and empathy while reducing stress and anxiety,” according to Pets for Patriots.

Many pets have also benefited from quarantine; seven months ago, in April, animal shelters and fostering organizations reported a surge in adoptions. 

According to an article published by the Associated Press in April, “Sarah Brasky, the founder and executive director of Foster Dogs Inc., a New York-based nonprofit that helps dogs get out of shelters and into foster homes for their safety, said the demand for dogs from her organization is at an all time high… Last year [around April], her organization had applications from about 140 people per month.” 

During this lockdown period many families and individuals have found that the pros of having the companionship of pets have helped ease the loneliness of necessary social distancing. Despite the cons, all pets are special to their owners, even if they require quite lots of love and care. After all, pets aren’t called “man’s best friend” for nothing!


Photo courtesy of NEWS10.COM.