How my non-human friends were an important part of my lock down experience

By Lauren Kelley
September 24, 2020


It’s tough to think about what the world was like before the pandemic. I remember being so excited for a long weekend back in March when the lock down and state of emergency first began. I left Cabrini on March 12th to come home to Delaware for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebrations and I still haven’t been back to school. It’s now September 20th.

My friend Kiya and I before we realized how serious the coronavirus and lock down was going to be. Photo by Lauren Kelley.

The Monday after that long weekend, I started to realize that maybe the whole “coronavirus thing” should be taken seriously. Looking back, I definitely should not have been out and about with friends after hearing about the potential of a state-wide lock down. But I try not to be so hard on myself about that because I was truly ignorant to how drastically things were going to change for everyone.

If you have read some of my previous articles, you know that I am very open and honest about my struggles with anxiety and depression. You also know that I have two pets that I adore. I was unsure of how a total lock down would affect me mentally, and I was nervous. The excitement of not having to go back to school and being able to spend time with my fur babies kept my anxiety at bay for a few days.

In March, it felt like there was a new update about the coronavirus lock down and protocols every hour. News stations were releasing any information they could, in an attempt to clue in very concerned public. Rumors, accusations and judgement, both fact and fiction, swirled all over the internet.

Mick Fleetwood shared this comical meme in March. It’s a social-distancing play on Rumours. Photo courtesy of Mick Fleetwoods Instagram.

During this time, social media became quite dark. People took to Twitter and Facebook to cast judgment on those not social distancing, share their fears or share how the coronavirus has affected them personally. I eagerly checked my social media accounts everyday because I wanted to learn more about what on earth was happening. I also wanted to look at all the memes that were created due in part to the pandemic.

Although memes are great, they weren’t enough to get me out of bed on the daily during lock down. My mom had recently gifted me a television for my bedroom, my first ever, and that made it even harder to want to leave my bed every day. If it weren’t for my pets, I think I would have gone crazy in lock down.

Charlie loves taking walks. Photo by Lauren Kelley.

My dog, Charlie, and my cat, Jax, are my two best friends. They too were elated to have me home for days and days on end for all of the treats and pets.

One of the harder things (for me) about going to school outside of Philly is the fact that I can only see my pets if I come home on the weekends. Due to school closures and travel restrictions, Charlie, Jax, my mom and I were hunkered down for weeks together.

Charlie and Jax rarely left my side during lock down. Photo by Lauren Kelley.

Not only did having two silly pets by my side help with entertainment, it did wonders for my mental health. The power that hugging a dog or a cat holds is incredible. It’s like hanging out with furry friends alleviates stress and anxiety.

In fact, according to, “playing with a dog or cat elevates levels of dopamine and serotonin.”

Dopamine and serotonin are 2 very important drugs, especially for someone like me who suffers from mental health issues. The human body produces these drugs naturally, but production is slowed by feelings of anxiety and depression. With Charlie and Jax by my side, dopeamine and seratonin production was booming!

Although I hope we’re safe from lock downs and another pandemic, I’m so glad I have my pets to keep me company indefinitely. I feel like we bonded so much in quarantine, as we got to spend time together 24/7. I truly believe I would not be the person I am today if I did not have their emotional support during such an unprecedented time.

Lauren Kelley

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