Times Are “Ruff”: Three ways a new pet could improve your life


Owen Rush

Cullen Wiley (left) and Sydney Schulenberg (right) hug their new furry friend “Carla Boo” tight for improving their lives mentally, financially, routinely and romantically. Photo courtesy of Owen Rush.

It is a dog eat dog world out there, or cat or whatever pet you decide. Life can be “ruff” if you do not have someone to go through it with.

This year alone has been rough on us all in many ways, with the pandemic and not having a social life during quarantine. A lot of us have come up with many solutions or new skillsets during this time, such as baking or connecting with friends via Zoom to catch up. All of these things have been improvements to our lives.

One Omaha couple, much like other people, got a pet during quarantine to make these days not so rough. Sydney Schulenberg and Cullen Wiley got a black cat named Carla Boo during quarantine, and they say it was an amazing improvement to their lives.

Schulenberg and Wiley were going to Pet Smart on a whim and figured they would get a fish for their new apartment. They always talked about getting a cat jokingly before and when they walked by the cats, they figured why not. They say Boo has helped with anxiety, management of time and money and giving them something to do as a couple.


Improvement for mental health

Schulenberg and Wiley both suffer from anxiety and say that their new cat has contributed to major improvement to their mental health. It gives them both something to look forward to when they get home from work.

“I came home from work stressed and just cried,” Schulenberg says, “and Boo made me feel better because I know she’s always there.”


Improvement for managing time and money

When you think of getting a new pet, most people would not think of saving money or maintaining a better daily routine. Schulenberg and Wiley say that getting their new pet has made them more conscious about money and helped them develop a better daily routine.  Wiley has been working from home and finds it hard to keep a daily routine while at home.

“Before I did not really have a daily routine,” Wiley says, “but now I get up and feed Boo and make coffee and slowly have been developing a new daily routine.”

They say that now with the added responsibility of a pet, they cannot eat out as much and their new pet has made them more conscious and smarter about spending money.


Improvement in their relationship

Some couples might find a new pet stressful or draining, but Schulenberg and Wiley are thankful for what their new pet has brought into their lives. They say that it gives them something to do together, which is great because they cannot do much right now in the pandemic.

“It’s great because it gives us an emotional connection and is great to see if we want a dog in the future,” the couple said.

Schulenberg and Wiley say their advice would be to think about it but do not overthink it. Make sure you are in a responsible place to get a pet. Most importantly, adopt and do not shop. If you are looking for a furry friend, you can check out the Nebraska Humane Society or your local pet store to adopt.