Pets of the Pandemic


Courtesy of Rachel Mcgovern

Rachel’s cats Orville and Fern are relaxing on their bed.

One of the main and undeniable struggles that students have faced during this mostly remote school year has been a sense of loneliness. While the isolating aspect of the pandemic can be a problem for some, the love and companionship of having a pet can help. 

Bareen’s pet bird stares at the screen from inside it’s cage. (Courtesy of Bareen Abdulrahman)

The good thing about having a pet during this pandemic is that anyone can hug or play with them as much as they want and won’t get sick. While pets can’t talk they still love their owners and enjoy spending time with them. Their constant companionship and loyalty are what make many pets a beacon of happiness for some during this lonely time. 

“Having my birds with me during quarantine makes it a whole lot better, since I’ve been with them so much during quarantine I understand every sound they make, I know how they are feeling, what they want, and what they don’t want, and it is just nice to have them around,” Bareen Abdulrahman, ‘26 said. 

Abdulrahman has six Budgies which are a type of mini parrot. The females’ names are Nashmeel and Wan, the males’ names are Amad and Nawroz and the babies are named Kale and Shinashaho. 

Before quarantine, the first three birds came to Abdulrahman’s family from a friend who was allergic to the birds then they got another female from the person that gave the birds to their friend, so they could have an equal number of males and females. Then, two of the birds bred during quarantine and they got the baby birds. 

All of the birds sitting inside their cage. (Courtesy of Bareen Abdulrahman)

“They’re very fun to play with, but having six birds we only have a little cage so they are kind of cramped and I have to take them all out once a day so they don’t get fat,” Abdulrahman said. 

Rachel’s Guinea pigs Joe and Goose are hanging out with one of her cats. (Courtesy of Rachel Mcgovern)

Another student pet owner, Rachel Mcgovern ‘24 said, “They are so much more distracting now because my male cat Orville likes to jump on me all the time so I think he’s become a lot more of a social cat than he’s used to be, and my female cat Fern gets attached really easily, so I think she’s become more social and needy.” 

Mcgovern has four pets in total. Two guinea pigs named Joe and Goose, and two cats named Orville and Fern. Mcgovern got a Guinea pig for her sister’s birthday before quarantine and another one soon after. Her family adopted her first cat a couple years ago and got the second one fairly recently. 

“I think that Orville is older and that he thinks of Fern as a daughter since she is so much younger than him, so he wants to clean her and take care of her but she is very much not liking it all the time,” Mcgovern said.

It has definitely been tough for some students to deal with isolation and boredom during this pandemic.  On the bright side, many students got to spend time with their pets, which they couldn’t have done otherwise. This extra time spent with pets has gotten many students closer to their animals which have led to meaningful connections that brightened the pandemic for them.