Sunday, October 4, 2020

Pets in a Pandemic



Have you ever considered how our pets are feeling and dealing with this pandemic? It has not only turned our lives upside down but also the every day routine of our pets, whether you have dogs, cats, horses, chickens, canaries or fish and everything else that falls into this category. Myself? I can really only speak on the level of dogs yet I know that other animals know something is going on also. 

Our two dogs are used to us being around because we are retired and work on our writings and other things at home. For those who were used to their owners going off, they had to adjust to having their humans at home with them all the time. Believe it or not, some animals took to this adjustment beautifully, while others did not like sharing the house that they were used to having the run of during the day. 

I know that our dogs love having us here with them. Veterinarians have reported seeing cases where "happy tail/limp tail" is happening quite often. I must admit, I have never heard of such a thing. Apparently, it is the sweet furbabies that are so happy having their humans around that their tails are becoming strained from too much wagging. Another issue is injuries from too much walking. Humans, during stay at home mandates have taken to getting out for walks more and more. Some dogs are just not used to this kind of strain on their paws and joints. Animals also miss their routine and sort of withdraw into a depression according to a report from a veterinarian magazine.

During this pandemic, some Dog Parks and Doggie Day Cares have had to close so the dogs are missing this activity. We have been lucky in that our wonderful Doggie Day Care at Walnut Grove Animal Clinic has been able to remain open due to being associated with the Animal Clinic. They have a very safe drop off and pick up routine and our two doodles love going.

Unfortunately, our older doodle has developed some inflammation on a toe joint and he needs to not play so hard. Try telling him that when he is playing with his sister and friends all day. So we are trying some anti-inflammatory meds and supplements to see if that will ease it before we make the decision to take him to a specialist to see what the next step may be. 

Our pets are incredibly beneficial to our mental health. Petting and interacting with your pet not only entertains your pet but has been proven to improve our mental health and even lower blood pressure. Another bonus is that many pets were adopted from animal shelters in order for families to add one to their home. Studies were done that showed more than 90% say their pets help them cope emotionally in the pandemic. 

Just as we humans have to be careful of not gaining weight as we sit at home, we need to be mindful of how many treats our dogs are receiving too. A routine of exercise helps, along with being mindful of what and how much we munch on. 

In my household, my husband has set up bird feeders right outside my study window. So humming birds have been coming (although it is about time for them to fly south) and also I have a bird identifying book because so many different varieties are at my window daily. 

Ways that you can turn to your pets is to use them for comedy relief. I know that there are times they can bring a touch of frustration, especially when you are trying to get a little extra snoozing time and they are ready to get up and play. Pets are funny and if you watch closely, you can figure out some of their antics such as chasing their own tail, or our two play tug of war with a toy or baiting one another to come and get a toy that one has and the other one doesn't. Our youngest one loves it when we give them each a bullie stick because she will take hers and within 5 minutes goes and takes her brother's treat and hides hers by laying on it. And he just watches her do it. Share their sweetness and love. Talk to them. When we go through our house, both of us find ourselves telling them, "Excuse me!" There are times they are always underfoot, especially when we are cooking.

Even though pets don't transmit Covid-19, it is still always a good idea to wash your hands well after playing with them. Our pets are into everything and it is always good hygiene to wash our hands even when there was no pandemic.

If you watch closely and pay attention, you should be able to feel the empathy coming from your pets. Seeing the love in their eyes can melt your heart and take you to a better place. 

One of my activities to help keep my mind on happy things is to paint and sketch. Here is one of my art pieces that is a simple charcoal sketch of our youngest doodle.

Davis and Maggie Mae believe that one of their jobs is to warn us of anyone or anything unusual outside of our home. Whether it is our neighbor's cat, or a neighbor out for a walk with or without a dog, the postal worker, delivery drivers, garbage trucks...really it doesn't matter. They lay on the sofa and relax and wait for the next round of warning sounds for us. As you can tell they do it together, as they do everything. We will always be there for them just as they are for us. 

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