According to Britannica School, a pet is “any animal kept by human beings as a source of companionship and pleasure.”
At the end of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s last demographic survey in 2016, approximately “57% of American households owned a pet.” May is designated National Pet Month because of pets’ importance in American culture.
Humans are often seen as the principal beneficiaries of the animal-human connection. According to Britannica School, however pets also appear to benefit from their relationship with humans in a “symbiotic way”.
The special connection between humans and their pets have been especially needed during the pandemic.
Working from Home and Your Pet
Early in the pandemic, a couple of issues started to crop up:
- Classroom pets - Who will take care of the classroom pet when schools closed early in the pandemic? Pets that were meant to teach responsibility to students in weekly increments suddenly became the responsibility of teachers, who realized belatedly how much space the classroom pets took in their own homes!
- Will my pet give me coronavirus? - According to the CDC, pets do not represent a significant risk for transmitting COVID-19. However, in early April 2020, people were concerned about catching the virus from their pets because of COVID-19 transmission to tigers in New York City.
Certain unique issues have arisen due to the pandemic:
- Behavioral issues have arisen due to the stress caused by humans being home more than usual. One owner noted that her dog had become a “scaredy cat”. Joan Morris, Animal Life columnist in the San Jose Mercury News , recommends “taking the animal to a veterinarian for evaluation and then reducing your animal’s stress by giving your pet space, going for walks, and scheduling regular playtimes.”
- Weaning your pet, so that you can go back to work. Kaitlyn Wells, a New York Times columnist, writes about how to reduce your pet’s anxiety in “Prepare Your Pet to Avoid Post-Quarantine Separation Anxiety” located in the U.S. History Database. Wells recommends preparing your pet for the transition by taking walks without your pet, using new toys to distract your pet, using calming aids, and consulting pet professionals.
- Evictions affect pets too. Debra Kamin, a New York Times columnist writes about the problem of pet abandonment due to pet owners’ evictions in “When Evictions Loom, Pets Are Also at Risk.” Renters are especially impacted as it may be difficult to find other affordable pet-friendly rentals. Legislation is especially needed to help pet owners who rent.
- The pandemic has also increased pet adoptions, in addition to pet abandonment. To stave off the COVID-19 blues, many people sought out pet ownership. The library has many resources to help you choose a new pet.
At the Library, Dewey Decimal is Your Friend, Too!
American librarian Melvil Dewey created the Dewey Decimal System in order to easily classify non-fiction materials in a location where all similar materials are located.
In 1876, when he published his System, domesticated animals were primarily used in agriculture.
As such, you will find pets in the class, Technology, or Applied Sciences. Agriculture is in the sub-class 630. Under the sub-class 630, you will find “Animal Husbandry,” or 636.
In our Classic Catalog, you can browse by the Dewey Call Number 636. Here are some topics which may interest you:
- 636.0887: Pets
- 636.7088: Pets Behavior
- 636.68: Pets, Birds
- 636.7: Pets, Dogs
- 636.8: Pets, Cats
- 639.4: Pets, Fish (Located under “fishing” instead of “animal husbandry.”)
In addition to finding information about your (new) pet, you can also find wonderful stories or movies about pets at the library!
The World According to Humphrey Birney, Betty G.
The Humphrey the Hamster Series begins with The World According to Humphrey. A laugh out loud book for first to third graders, Humphrey learns about his role in the classroom. A great way for young readers to develop a love for reading!
Incredible Journey Burnford, Shirley Every
Three friends, a bulldog, a Siamese cat, and a labrador want to go back home. There are 250 miles between where they are and their old home. Will they be able to complete such a long and incredible journey? Great for upper elementary school-aged children.
Call of the Wild London, Jack
A number of movies have been adapted from the original novel. None can surpass the expansive tale of the dog Buck and his brutal indoctrination to the wild. Middle schoolers and teens will especially enjoy this classic tale by the Bay Area’s own Jack London.
Old Yeller Walt Disney Home Entertainment
A stray dog, Old Yeller, finds his home in the American frontier. He proves to be a much needed companion for Travis and his family. Older children will connect with Travis and his struggles.
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale Sony Pictures
Hachiko continues to wait at the train station where he last saw his master before he died. Hachiko makes an impression on all that he meets. Older children will learn a valuable lesson on love and loyalty.
Ace Ventura, Pet Detective Warner
Jim Carrey’s hilarious depiction of a detective who only specializes in finding lost pets. Watch for the cameo from former Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Dan Marino! For adults.
Here are 3 ideas:
City of San Jose Animal Care Center: https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-government/departments-offices/animal-care-services/animal-care-services-2
Humane Society Silicon Valley: https://www.hssv.org/?utm_source=GMB-listing&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=GMB
Try a cat rescue! Type in "cat rescue near me San Jose" and you will see a lot of different organizations. Make sure that they have the 501c designation.