Pets of the Pandemic: Facebook group members share their animal lockdown stories
- Pets can help mitigate the ‘massive hug deficit’ of the last 12 months
- People have used the pandemic as an excuse to get a pet
- Showing off pets on social media can combat a lack of interaction
Psychologist and avid social media user Dr Cheryl Travers has been asking animal lovers to share images and stories of their pets from the COVID pandemic.
Dr Travers, of the School of Business and Economics, at Loughborough University, set up the Facebook group Pets of the Pandemic as a way of helping others through the coronavirus crisis.
She has previously used social media to gather information for academic research on working from home during Covid, work-life balance and well-being. However, she said the newest group – which has around 300 members – was more of a personal project.
Dr Travers, who has three dogs Daphne, Queenie and Winnie (main image), said she set up the group as a “beacon of hope” for people who shared a common interest and hoped they could help each other through the pandemic.
She said: “I think our general isolation and disengagement from society due to Covid restrictions has had a lot to answer for and its impact has been extreme in many cases.
“People have felt that they have struggled to make and maintain connections this last year. But having a pet has given many people the excuse to get outdoors for exercise, walking the dog for example, and the accompanying benefits of talking to people in the ‘real’ world rather than just virtually.
“I'm speaking as a dog owner here, it’s something wonderful that happens when you have to walk your pet – but it’s not just outside on walks, it’s also sharing pets with social media friends.
“Pets give us something to talk about, pets give us communication with other people.”
Among the group members is Alan Wheeler (pictured above), who bought Ray the puppy during the lockdown – a trend followed by lots of people who felt they needed some extra company.
He posted: “I've always had pets, but Ray was our lockdown puppy and my best decision as a grown-up.
“I love him so deeply, so completely, so without any reservation and reason, that it's frankly ridiculous. He makes my day EVERY day!”
Caroline Sudale posted a picture of parrot Eric (inset).
She wrote: “He is my rock. Not only helped me through the pandemic. He gets me though every day.
“He (was) abandoned by his owner some years ago. He was not nice
Notes for editors
Press release reference number: 21/66
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.
It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.
Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in the Guardian University League Table 2021, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 6th in The UK Complete University Guide 2021.
Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.