Mutual Rescue: Pets Helping Cope with Stress During Pandemic

Posted at 11:01 PM, May 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-25 23:01:03-04

LANSING, Mich. — We've heard a lot about heroes during the pandemic. But there are some largely unrecognized creatures keeping everyone's spirits up, and they may play an even more important role as we recover.

"Policies were changing like this . Every hour getting a new email a new policy couldnt keep up. colleagues are really stressed out about their families."

Diane Foxen is NICU nurse in silicon valley. "Even though we work right next to each other saving a baby's life as soon as that's stable its 6 feet apart. 8:18 we're in masks no hugs no nothing no contact."

She takes care of sick and premature babies professionally, and when she gets home it's more of the same. You see, she's a foster mom for humane society silicon valley.

When COVID hit they were sure Foxen wouldn't have time for specialized sick kitten care. "I didn't have any at the time and i was like where are my kittens i need kittens its kitten season. I need something to destress." She ended up taking on 5.

"My cats have been and I'm sure plenty of my other colleagues, their animals have been their crying post and I love that fact that omg for someone that wouldn't want to take on anymore for her its actually a source of joy."

Carol Novello is the founder of Mutual Rescue, a group that advocates for animal adoption from shelters and rescue groups.

In 2010 my doctor told me to buy a funeral plot because i would need one in the next 5 years but I'm still here because a shelter dog saved my life.

Mutual Rescue started telling short stories of how shelter animals helped people with all sorts of difficulties, obesity, suicide, addiction, ptsd.

"We can find ourselves stressed out in a place of fear and one of the things that so wonderful about a rescue animal is how appreciative they are to have a home."

Now Mutual Rescue is looking for stories like Diane's, animals helping people cope during the pandemic.

"As the folks that are on the true front lines taking care of patients watching them die, coding them. They're going to need someone or something to talk to when they're finished."

Mutual Rescue wants people to submit short videos of how their pets have helped them during COVID. You can email them to

They are giving away 100 copies of the mutual rescue book. You could also be contacted about being part of a new docu-series the group is working on. You have until Monday to send in the videos.

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