Whether it’s a dog, cat, or even a bird, when it comes to our pets, experts say there’s a certain calming effect, and it’s proving useful for beating the social distancing blues as New York works to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Animals have always been our sidekicks. … It’s emotional support, it lowers our blood pressure and keeps us occupied,” said Upstate New York SPCA Director Cathy Cloutier.

No one knows that better than Joni Bonilla. She runs local non-profit Operation At Ease. Staffers train shelter and rescue dogs to become PTSD service animals for veterans.

Bonilla has seen the positive effects animals can have on people who are isolated.

“We have some veterans that live alone, and the only person they have with them is their dog,” said Bonilla.

But there’s been a growing stigma around the coronavirus infecting pets, which is putting stress on animal shelters across the country.

“There has been an influx in the shelter where people have been concerned that their dogs are going to get them sick. Dogs do not get the coronavirus; they don’t spread it,” Bonilla said.

She says now is the perfect time to adopt or foster a cat or dog.

“Everyone is working from home now, and all the people who said they don’t have time, now we all have time,” Bonilla said.

Experts say it’s OK to walk your pet in open spaces, but if you can’t do that daily, there’s other ways to keep them active in the house.

“I moved my dining room table and showed them figure-8s around the dining room chairs,” Bonilla said.

If you are looking to adopt or foster a pet, shelter directors ask that you make an appointment before arriving.

Bonilla says Operation at Ease will be adding instructional videos to their YouTube and Facebook pages.