Without animals, life would be “ruff”

RachelAnn Degnan, Senior Reporter

In Ellensburg, some students have found that having a furry companion helps them better handle school and life stresses.

Naomi Whiting, a junior studying French, has had her rabbit in the dorms with her since February of her freshman year.

“I grew up having animals around all the time, and I didn’t realize that it was such an important part of my existence until I got [to Ellensburg] my freshman year, and I walked into the pet store, and I almost started crying because it reminded me of my animals,” Whiting said. 

During midterms, Whiting participated in an event where rabbits were brought to the dorms to help students destress. She said she fell in love with the cute rabbits and decided that she needed to adopt one.

“I literally called my parents that night and was like ‘Hey, I’m getting a bunny. This call is to inform you. I am not actually asking permission,’” Whiting said.

Whiting said her rabbit, Carmen, has been a positive change in her life.

“She’s kind of a focus point for me. [If] I ever need to take a break, and like calm down, I can go and give her snuggles,” Whiting said. “She actually knows now if I am getting emotionally upset or just like really frustrated, and she will actually dig at the front of her cage for me to let her out so she can come and get pets and get me to settle down again.”

Bekah Longmire, a senior studying biomedical science, has had various animals in her life that have left a positive lasting impact on her. 

“We had goats, horses, dogs, cats, chickens, fish and cows in my childhood home,” Longmire said. “I never had a deep connection with the chicken, cows, fish and goats, but my love for my horses, dogs and cats is profound.”

Currently, Longmire lives with her dog Gemma and, at one point, had her horses in Ellensburg with her. 

“When I had my horses here, I never felt bored or lonely. I got Gemma in August, and she has quickly become my best friend,” Longmire said. “She is always waiting for me and greets me enthusiastically at the door. It’s extremely comforting and always brightens my day.”

Longmire said she believes that animals are a gift to humanity and that having an animal is a blessing that makes your life a million times better.

“There’s nothing better than the love you can share with a furry friend, and I believe that everyone should have the chance to experience the unconditional love that comes with owning a pet,” Longmire said.

According to an interview in Smithsonian Magazine with Greger Larson, director of the University of Oxford’s palaeogenomics and bio-archaeology research network, “humans have likely kept baby animals for amusement as long as humans have lived. But, usually, as those babies matured and became less cute and perhaps more unruly, they ended up being thrown back into the wild or maybe even eaten.” 

In the digital publication Buffalo Rising, Timm Otterson, DVM, wrote an article saying that animals are seen as companions and emotional friends.

“The emotional benefits for people [can include] having increased self-worth from caring for, training, and nurturing another living being. Pets also relieve loneliness, reduce anxiety, and can be invaluable for children,” Otterson wrote.