There’s been a lot of talk about COVID-19 mental health and what the pandemic has done to us and our families. I really haven’t taken much time to think about it. Togetherness has been both a blessing and a burden. My husband is usually on the road five days a week, so having him home for the past year, because no-one’s hiring road warriors and no-one can fly, has been a challenge. Cramming into a small space is not easy for him, and losing my independence has been a challenge as well. I’ve taken to asking him, of late, to set up an appointment to speak with me about at length about work issues because in addition to what I do, there’s the dog and cooking three meals a day…
At first it was pure fight or flight response. Make sure my family is OK and makes it through the pandemic. Wash everything. Find masks. His mother sewed and mailed us our first cloth masks because we couldn’t get any. The dog was a year old and has to go out at least four times a day and we have to take a shared elevator to get there. There really wasn’t much time to think about how that made us feel.f
Let me switch topics to pets for a moment. Many adopted a companion animal durning this time. It’s wonderful that the shelters emptied out and unwanted dogs and cats came to a new home. It’s important to keep them once things begin to get more normal. That requires time and effort. And patience.
Lulu was in training, which was curtailed. She’s smart as a whip but now chooses to obey when she feels like it. I met a cute pup a few months before we got Lulu. He was a gorgeous and playful Airedale Terrier. Whereas Lulu’s training took a bit of a break, Rufus’ owner finished the job. There is such a dichotomy between this perfecly trained gorgeous dog and my Lulu it’s embarassing. Rufus and Lulu greeted, old friends, the other day, then Cody came along. Lulu’s been spending a lot of play date time with Cody, an Aussie mix, during quarantine and the two of them go at it like it’s WWE wrestling. Chest to chest, body slams, teeth playfully gnashing, you get the picture!
All Rufus’ owner had to do is quietly look up at my husband and say, “Lots of treats.”
Leaving the house with your new canine friend alone in the house will be a challenge so please plan for it. My husband had a seminar in one state one week, and a funeral in another two weeks ago. Both times Lulu mourned for him when he left but was well behaved and slept through the night while he was gone. Then she was ecstatic to see him upon his return and went back to getting him up at three in the morning all over again.
Yes, I have to finish training Lulu before I can get her a live-in buddy. Especially now. One of her best buds is leaving town in a couple of months and she’ll really miss him. She and Otis are practically inseparable these days.
I guess the reason I don’t dwell on me and my mental state at every moment is that there’s always something to be done, something to accomplish even though it may not seem like much. Bored with daily dinners? Change it up a bit. Spouse out of town? Get the dog to sleep through the night. Ordering in the same old groceries? Mask up and go to the store to see what Spring has brought in and change the menu. Think about planting some herbs after the last frost (snow forecast for this week, still).
We got our first vaccine nearly two weeks ago and I expected to feel euphoric. I’m holding out for two weeks after the second shot, then I can feel OK about my husband getting on an airplane again. His client will be safe on the other end and I’ll be safe from COVID here at home. Then I can “Spring Clean” and do some other things I’ve wanted to do during quarantine.
It would have been nice if Lulu had been able to be a therapy dog at a nearby hospital but that’s just not in the cards. She could be trained to be one if I tried really hard, but she might lose her sunny personality in the translation. It would have been fun to see her warm the hearts of sick people but she’s so happy she likes to jump up, hop on her hind legs and give a hug and that’s not allowed. And that’s her. Kids love her because she’s so much fun. I don’t want to take all the joy out of her life. Then again, maybe it’s possible, but I’l wait a year or two and it might be right after she’s calmer.
We all look forward to getting back to normal, whatever we’ll find it to be. Until then, lots of treats. Cheers! Dee