Title Dogs a Boost to Lockdown Survival Degree of recognition National Media name/outlet The Australian Newspaper Media type Web Country/Territory Australia Date 12/08/20 Description Dogs can beg an extra treat for this trick: a new study shows dogs are better than cats at protecting against loneliness, stress and depression during lockdown. A Monash University study, published in the Journal of Social Psychiatry, has confirmed the benefits of a furry friend to fight the lockdown blues. The online survey of 384 people had participants evaluate their levels of loneliness, mindfulness and mood, with cat and dog owners also measuring their pet interactions and questions about how being a pet owner affected their experience of COVID-19 and how COVID-19 affected their pet.
Lead researcher Jessica Olivia said being a dog owner seemed to produce significantly lower levels of loneliness, as well as higher mindfulness, compared to cats and non-pet owners.
She said dog owners had a common theme of getting out
more to exercise because of their pet and also a sense they were entitled to go out to exercise. “The other theme is an opportunity to socialise with other people doing the same thing,” she said. “It may be that the same opportunities are not afforded to cat or non-pet owners.” Dr Olivia said dogs provided an excuse for people to stop and say g’day but they shouldn’t be relied on for a person’s health and wellbeing. “The decision to get a dog or a cat or not should be based on a well-thought-out decision to care for it for it’s lifetime, not for the duration of the lockdown,” she said. During lockdown, Mel Accorso said she had been enjoying the company of 10-month-old Irish wolfhound cross bull arab Clyde, inside the home and outside on walks in the park or by the beach.
“He’s been a blessing, he rescued us,” she said. “We rescued
him in April and we’re so lucky to have him … we’ve taken time to train him and have put so much time and energy into him.”
Ms Accorso said a dog forced owners to go outside during lockdown and made a walk “way more fun … It’s such a good conversation starter — whenever someone walks by him, you can start talking with them.” Lost Dogs Home spokeswoman
Suzana Talevski said families, couples and individuals were
spending more time at home during lockdown, offering plenty of opportunities to bond and train with a new dog, but “just as pets are not just for Christmas, they are not just for isolation either”.
Producer/Author Tessa Akerman Persons Jessica Oliva