This is what my office looks like as I continue working from home. I’m a marketing professor and I’ve been teaching via Zoom since Spring Break. During that time, just like the rest of you, I spend most days huddled inside and far away from others who might carry the coronavirus. My question is what are you doing for companionship during a pandemic?
As a single mom for most of my adult life, I’ve lived alone since my last child left home a few years ago. However, I still had the pups, Pearl, the sweet little pitbull, and Dusty, the bullmastiff, who was an old man. Unfortunately, we lost him during the pandemic, so now it’s just me and Pearl. Both dogs are rescues, which I highly recommend. I’ve always owned rescue dogs and they make the best pets.
Companionship during a pandemic
In all honesty, she’s ecstatic about being the only pup but even happier that I’m now home with her most of the time. If I had to lay odds, I’d be willing to bet that the novel coronavirus was genetically engineered by a team of super-intelligent dogs as a plot to have more quality time with their families. Then again, I write fiction books about an impending apocalypse from one group of terrorists or the next. I don’t think there was anything malicious about the dogs, and I don’t think they were trying to overthrow legitimate governments like the villains in my novels, they just hate when we leave them home alone in the morning.
If Pearl had her way, she’d be snuggled next to me 24/7. In fact, here’s a pic I took before the pandemic of her idea of hangin’ with mom while I’m trying to take a nap.
Here’s how the Huffington Post says dogs feel about the lockdown (of course, cats just wish we’d leave them alone in their house).
Lockdown has been nothing short of epic for dogs. Deeply social creatures that require and desire intense periods of bonding for their happiness and wellbeing, they’ve been spoiled by housebound owners marooned for weeks on the sofa.
Pearl is especially spoiled because I basically take her everywhere I go now that I’m not working since I only go to outdoor locations or to do curbside pickup.
In some ways, the need to bond is mutual.
Even folks who never imagined getting a pet fostered or even adopted a dog during the pandemic (cats are not a pandemic pet, so not as big a change in cat ownership). Fostering served the needs of humans for companionship during a pandemic, and I admit a few colleagues I never saw as pet people, decided to foster for the companionship. Fostering also helped animal rescue places trying to keep their own staff and volunteers safe.
Working through a pandemics
Of course, the love goes both ways and I’m really happy to have such great companionship during a pandemic, even though she loves peaking at the students or colleagues trying to have a serious conversation through Zoom. I think others enjoy seeing her pop her little head into my screen as I certainly enjoy seeing their dogs and kids.
Working from home has its challenges. Today in class, a student took her dog (and her computer) out because, well, when a pup has to go, they gotta go. It looked nice outside and, with my crazy schedule, I probably won’t see much of what’s going on outside except when I let Pearl out.
Of course, the downside of all this working from home is that, sooner or later, we go back to working in an office, or, in my case, a classroom. As of now, the university plans to open to face-to-face classes on Aug. 24. I have to say I have mixed feelings about going back to the classroom. I’ll miss the daily walks with Pearl, the lunch spent on my patio, and not having to put on makeup. I also miss my students and they haven’t done as well with online learning as I would expect from digital natives.
Pearl won’t be happy, which may result in some superficial damage, but change is inevitable. My hope is to make the transition back to work as easy for her as possible. After all, her companionship helped me through this pandemic.
Saying goodbye to our companions for the day
As much as I’ll miss Pearl once I got back to campus, I know she’ll miss me more, especially since she can’t understand why I leave every morning after being home basically full-time for 5 months. And, it’s no good explaining the situation to a dog.
The best solution is to prepare your dog before heading back to work outside your home.
The experts I checked out suggested some variation of the same tactic for helping your pet cope with separation anxiety, which involves gradually increasing the amount of time you leave them home alone. Other experts recommend using a thundershirt or similar product that provides comforting hugs throughout the day or giving extra treats or toys for the dog to distract him/her from the fact you aren’t there.
OK, enough for today. I hope you find these posts useful and I’d love to hear your feedback.
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