Culture Scan

At the intersection of real estate, media, and pop culture.

While much in-person human interaction has ground to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, unconditional engagement with our furry friends is clearly on the rise. Many people, still bound by stay-at-home orders, have discovered that having a pet is an emotional and physical balm during these stressful times. As National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day falls today, it’s a reminder about the joyful companionship that comes from welcoming a new addition to your household, especially while living in near-quarantine conditions.

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While NAR’s Animal House: Pets in the Home Buying and Selling Process showed that 66% of U.S. homes already had a pet or planned to get one—prior to the coronavirus outbreak—that figure is surely spiking as animal shelters report they’re running short on pets available for adoption.

But it’s still worth following up to find out about shelters in your community. Help find a loving place for animals who still need a home by encouraging your family, friends, and clients, particularly those with extra time on their hands to adopt a pet. It’s a two-for-one deal: Save an animal’s life while improving life for humans stuck at home.

The Human Animal Bond and Research Institute has found that interacting with a pet can reduce anxiety and depression through an increase of oxytocin levels in the brain. Animal companions can also help reduce blood pressure and improve heart rates. While many people’s daily routines have been changed, a pet’s strict schedule including feeding, time outdoors, and getting rest, offers owners something called “ontological security.” That’s a sense of order and a more positive outlook at a time when those may be missing.

After returning home to Los Angeles from college, Kendell Ryan and her family brought a puppy into her home last week. She says their new dog has kept her and her family busy with training and enhanced their emotional well-being.

“My stress levels have definitely been through the roof while managing home, work, and school life all in the confinements of my room and being home, but Luna is such an energetic dog that you can’t help but smile and feel a sense of relief when you see her,” Ryan says.

With so many dogs and cats residing in homes, real estate markets are revealing how home buyers’ decisions are influenced by pet needs and how sellers are prepping their pet-friendly homes for sale. Become familiar with common interior necessities, important neighborhood features, and steps for getting a house with pets ready for a showing.

Although humans may have a bit less time for their animal companions once stay-at-home orders are lifted, the bonds created and deepened during the pandemic will persist even when we’re venturing back into the outside world. We might even have our loyal animal friends with us when we all begin to congregate again.

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The Culture Scan blog explores the intersection of real estate, media, and popular culture. If you have an example of how culture plays a role in your real estate business, feel free to send story ideas to REALTOR® Magazine’s Lauren Tussey. You can learn more about Culture Scan's focus here.

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