Editor’s note: This story was originally filed in April during the spring semester.
(Kill Devil Hills, N.C.) — During this global pandemic, with self-quarantining and stay-at-home orders, many people are turning to their pets for comfort, as animals are known to provide support to their owners, especially in times of distress.
“They’ve always been a joy, even before (COVID-19). They are just so loving,” said Darlene Patterson, of her two dogs Daisy and Charlie.
“Daisy comes and sits on my left and throws her head on my chest under my chin like she wants a hug. Petting them relieves a lot of stress. They’ve been very comforting.”
Patterson, a retiree who lives in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is no stranger to times of distress. She and her husband Harry were by their granddaughter Hannah’s side this past summer while she battled for her life.
At 17, Hannah Goetz had her lungs removed while doctors searched for donor lungs and for four days Goetz had a machine breathe for her until a donor was found and she was able to have a double lung transplant.
Patterson said her dogs have helped her through tough times these past few years.
“The word dog (spelled) backwards is God and God gives unconditional love and so do these animals. They don’t know what’s going on and they just love you all the time. That’s a big help, going through any type of stress,” said Patterson.
“To get that unconditional love no matter what,” she said. “That gives a lot of comfort to me. I don’t think I could have been through a lot of stuff in these last few years without them.”
Winthrop University senior Caroline Boudreau said her cat Otis, who she adopted while in college, has kept her company during the pandemic while she deals with the stress of submitting assignments, taking final exams and preparing for graduation.
“Otis has been providing me emotional support during this difficult time. I’ve been very stressful, anxious, depressed. Otis, my cat, has been doing a great job providing me company. He sleeps with me right by my pillow. He is overall my best friend and I don’t know if I could survive this pandemic without him to be honest,” Boudreau said.
Logan Marshall, a filmmaker who lives in the Outer Banks, said he doesn’t remember the last time he spent this much time at home alone.
Marshall, who makes films about surfing, said normally he is constantly on the go. However, he said this time during the pandemic has allowed him to slow down and enjoy time with his cat Motz.
“(Motz is) a very personal cat. Everyone says cats don’t have owners, they have staff. This cat is different, he’s like a dog, he loves lots of attention. When you’re in a situation like this you realize it’s not too hard to care for yourself when you don’t have to do much, so having someone else to care for is definitely really nice,” said Marshall.
For many, especially those alone during the pandemic, the company provide by an animal can make all the difference in the world.