Co-dependency with pets

Published on:
September 24, 2020

There’s a reason why I mention walking the dog a lot. Our dog, Teddy, is having a pretty good pandemic. With both parents working from home and the kids operating from home (under duress according to them), he gets a ton of attention. So much so that I’m reluctant to leave him downstairs by himself. I know it’s going to be a big adjustment for him when offices and schools re-open, but I’m equally certain that it will be a big adjustment for me. This pandemic has made us co-dependent. And it’s not just the amount of time we spend in each other’s presence. Our walks have become therapy. When I let him off leash (at an undisclosed nearby location), I vicariously experience his carefree freedom as he bounds across a field, chasing squirrels, rabbits and the odd duck.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that he barks often and loudly. Car door slams. A flat-footed runner pounds the nearby sidewalk. Virtually any movement spotted through the window. He’s on it. And if you happen to be in the zone, the shock is palpable. He’s neither exceptionally bright nor is he very graceful nor particularly fast. He can also clear a room when his stomach is upset. But he also seems to know when you need a distraction. Outwardly, he’s looking for a scratching and moves around to ensure he gets the full treatment. But by the time he happily trots away, whatever was bothering me seems less significant and I find myself smiling. Some people have cat, others birds, fish, turtles or lizards. I have Ted.

Some additional thoughts for navigating these times.

With all of the craziness going on, find a project or a series of projects that are -- here's the key -- achievable. As the seasons change, there’s plenty to do. Perennials to plant. Leaves to rake. The house/condo/apartment needs to be prepared for winter. Stash away the portable air conditioners. Crank up the thermostat and confirm that the place gets warmer. And clothes? Closets need rearranging — summer packed away and the layers of fall and winter placed at the ready. Plenty of distraction.

Everything seems to be moving at warp speed and we’re in a permanent state of being online. We feel pressure to respond to questions and requests immediately. However, we may not have the answer in the moment or may not have the information to give the best answer or may be in the middle of something else. The fact is every note doesn’t merit an instantaneous response. If you feel like you need to let the sender know you’re on it, say so, or even better, say you’ll get back to them by a certain time. Chances are you will deliver a better result.

If you have any thoughts you'd like to share, please pass them on by replying to this email. Here are more tips on making the most of your time at home.

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