The year our pets saved us from pandemic misery

A tattooed man kissing his dog on the head
Axel Baur / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, animal shelters around the country were basically begging people to adopt pets. Although most shelters didn’t totally close, stay-at-home orders made it harder for animals to get the care they needed and deserved. A lot of kind-hearted people have opened their homes to new fur babies in the past few months. And some of us who already have pets realized how instrumental they were in our sense of peace in a time of chaos. To celebrate these pandemic savior pets, here are 5 of them who saved their humans from misery during the past year.

Leah Grubb, 26, Philadelphia

My partner and I adopted two cats — Benito Bubino & Quentin "Quarentiene-o" Totino — at the end of April. Adopting these two brothers filled a hole in both our daily routines that was created from growing up with multiple cats and now having none. They remind me that I have two mouths to feed and two lives to keep alive — a.k..a vacuum and clean everything because they'll eat anything. They're constantly a pain in my butt and the loves of my life and I think that's the kind of stability you need in these unprecedented times.

Kajuan Douglas, 32, New York

Isolating during the pandemic has never felt lonely or restless because William provides unconditional love and companionship. Instead of succumbing to stress or sadness, William inspired me to be grateful and generous — because he requires (and receives) all my love and attention. Also, he is living his best life. With all the home-cooked meals, he has experienced a new level of comfort.

Alyssa Bourne-Peters, 24, Brooklyn

I got Peach in December because I was trapped inside once the weather got cold and she's been the best thing to ever happen to me. I don't typically struggle with mental health issues, but as a really social and outgoing person, it got a little nuts being stuck inside for so long, but Peach brightens my day and my life in every way.

I can't wait for her to be one yr old so I can throw a peach-themed party for her. I'm even making a banner with her as center peach like in the Real Housewives of Atlanta opening theme. It's the best experience ever and almost makes me want to have real kids in the future. Almost.

Veronica, 26, Bali

Riley was found in the middle of a busy road when she was 2 months old. She had a bad eye infection and scabies. As soon as I saw her I fell in love, she was so happy and playful despite having these problems. Over the next few months, she filled my house with joy — and pee. I had someone to go on walks with again and someone to play with. She broke up my monotonous day of working and gave me something to look forward to. It would have been a very lonely few months without her.

Joss Richard, 28, Los Angeles

My husband and I adopted Annie in July. We always wanted a dog but the timing was never right, and we figured there was no better time than 2020 to take the leap. Annie ended up being the light of our lives in a scary horrible year. I lost a family member due to COVID and developed anxiety about leaving my home, and Annie has motivated me to go outside and has completely turned 2020 around. I truly don't know what I would do without her, she has become my rock and my best friend.