COVID-19, Social Distancing, and Quality Time With Your Pets
I wish I was one of those people who could “rise above” in any occasion. One of those people who sees the good in everything, remains focused, optimistic, who does not worry. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. The first weeks of this epidemic seem almost lost to me, a vague memory of sadness, worry and fear. It is only recently that my personal fog began to lift, and I found myself attempting to see the good in this forced global slow down. For me the turning point came, as it usually does, when I was able to see the world more clearly by observing, interacting with, and learning from my animals.
Many of you know I live on a small farm, with my husband and two children, where we raise Tunis sheep as well as keep a few horses, chickens, dogs, and kitties. It was the birth of our first ever set of triplet lambs that allowed me to begin to breathe again. When you attend a lambing, you need to focus, there is a plan, a program, and a goal. The system my husband and I have worked out over the years to assist in lambing flows seamlessly, almost without thought. We know our job. We know our place. The Tunis mothers know their job as well. As soon as the lambs are born, the ewes immediately fix upon their needs, licking, drying, imprinting and encouraging the lambs to nurse. Their thoughts do not stray to “what if” or “maybe” scenarios, they live in the moment. Following the Tunis ewe’s lead, I too am trying to live for the moment, not for the “what if”.
I asked the nurses and doctors of Longwood Veterinary Center to describe life at home with their pets and to comment on the way they are helping them get through this historic experience. Nurse Amy noted her dogs adore the extra time they get to share with her teenage daughters. Both dogs help with “home schooling” any time they can. Amy walks both her dogs in the woods behind her house, and they are reveling in the extra one on one time and exercise.
Dr. McCabe and nurse Dana pointed out the humor of our current situation. Dana’s little dog, Diva, is appropriately named, and has been practicing the art of social distancing for most of her life. Dr. McCabe’s dog, Zoey, loves the extra attention of having everyone home, but Zoey doesn’t believe their cat, Goody Poody, got the memo on what social distancing actually means. The pictures below well demonstrate Diva and Zoey’s concerns.
Dr. Sorensen writes, “Being stuck at home has allowed me to take a few longer walks with my dog. He’s so happy and appreciative of the extra time and attention. Even though we take the same walk, each time he acts like it’s a brand new adventure. It reminds me to just be grateful to be outside, and have the time together.”
The very act of social distancing prevents many of us from meeting one the most basic of human needs– experiencing physical contact. Nurse Mallory shares the following. “During this crazy and scary time something that has really helped my keep my sanity is being able to hug my dog, Georgia. Not being able to hug friends and family members is very hard for me. I give her all the love and affection I would have shared among my family members and friends. I’m happy to say she does love it!” Mallory goes on to acknowledge the fact that she has taken simple things such as the act of sharing a hug for granted. She now spends much of her spare time cuddling with Georgia on the couch, and is grateful she has her dog in her life.
All of us at Longwood Veterinary Center hope you are able to find time to enjoy the special companionship shared with your pets during these trying times. We hope you find yourselves more appreciative of the loyal love and unwavering support your pets provide, and we know our staff certainly has. We also want to emphasize the fact that our doors remain open to you, we are here to comfort and heal, as always. Stay safe, be well.
The doctors and nurses of Longwood Veterinary Center