Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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Student columnist Peyton Poitras writes on finding companionship in self-isolation

In self isolation, sense of time blurs from "Tuesdays" and "Wednesdays" into "yesterdays" and "todays." Whether you have someone under the same roof to isolate with or not, boredom and loneliness still begin to seep in. Although social media and video chats help with maintaining person to person connection, they cannot fill the void. Perhaps, however, a pet can.COURTESY PHOTO: PEYTON POITRAS - Peyton Poitras

When school first let out and spring break plans were cancelled, I hopped on the opportunity to adopt a fish. Yes, a fish — a Dumbo Halfmoon Betta Fish to be technical. It was my first and last time out of the house, but it was worth it. When I picture a Betta, I think of a fish in a small, clear cup on an aisle endcap. When I went to the pet store, all the Bettas had been adopted. In fact, there was an overall shortage of pets and an abundance of 'pending adoption' signs plastered about. That's not to say there weren't any pals up for adoption. A nearby cart held a couple dozen cups filled with semi opaque blue water — a new shipment of Betta. The blue water, providing nutrition and sedative for their journey, made it a bit difficult to determine what color the fish were. Elton, as I have named him, turned out to be blue and red.

Named after the famous singer, Elton and I have had quite the time together. We've binge watched several series and blasted 70s pop music. He has become my little companion, staying up after midnight and sleeping in until noon. My cats, Flynn and April, have become adjusted to our new schedule as well, entering a permanent state of relaxation knowing we aren't going anywhere.

Right now, the pet sector is classified under essential businesses. Toy mice, treats, and tiny hats are available for shipment right to your door. If you need something sooner, pet stores are still open. Many offer curbside pickup for contactless acquisition of supplies. Websites of these establishments, and of local shelters, offer a social-distancing-friendly way to find that perfect companion. Akin to a dating site, these pages display pictures, ages, and personality types of available pets. According to the Oregon Humane Society site, one may schedule an appointment online if wishing to adopt, limiting the number of people at the shelter at any given time.

Believe me, I know the future is unpredictable. Sense of security, of illnesses caught and jobs lost are at the forefront of everyone's minds. When the world seems out of control, decisions come hard. All we can do is the next right thing. For me, that meant welcoming Elton to the family. When the day comes and this all has lifted, I will cherish the memories I have made with him, with my cats, and while staying safe. There's enough fear in the air; let's find some unconditional love.


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