Her pet chickens were a source of emotional support during the pandemic. Then, the predators came.

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Her pet chickens were a source of emotional support during the pandemic. Then, the predators came.

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Though research in this area is often qualitative and findings have at times been disputed, studies suggest that interacting and forming bonds with animals, such as dogs, might have a positive effect on a person’s well-being. During the past year, in particular, many people have reported that pets played an important role in helping them cope with the physical and psychological tolls of pandemic life.
Animals provide companionship and can offer unconditional affection, which people don’t always get from other humans, said Lori Kogan, chair of the Human-Animal Interaction Section of the American Psychological Association and a professor at Colorado State University. Owning pets can also help people maintain a schedule and feel a sense of responsibility, Kogan said.
Although existing research has largely focused on more traditional pets, she said, “raising chickens can provide an incredible amount of emotional support.” Plus: “Chickens have their own little personalities. They’re very funny. They’re very cute.”
For Kelly Rutkowski, 38, of Ashland, Va., her chickens are her “therapy.”

“Just going out with them and just caring for them, interacting with them, it makes me happy,” said Rutkowski, founder of the Adopt a Bird Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of adoptable birds in animal shelters and rescues nationwide. In addition to hens, Rutkowski also keeps a “bachelor flock” of roosters.

“I know we’re missing out on being able to go out and do things and stuff, but being with the chickens is just an experience which makes it easier,” she said. “I’d say they’re just as fulfilling as a dog or cat.”

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The Washington Post

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Pandemic Pets>Pets & Mental Health

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This item was submitted on August 14, 2021 by Ashley Tibollo using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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