First off, thanks to everyone who is staying home through all this, and thanks to everyone who is not while trying to keep everything running and taking care of the rest of us. We do all sincerely appreciate it. And now for a little light satire….
What people don’t see is the silent sacrifices some of us have to make during all this. Normally, Nancy is very good at social distancing. This is the lady who sleeps over on the couch, only to hop in the bed once I get up to start my day, then jumps off and back to the couch once I settle into bed. It’s slightly insulting, to be honest, but you gotta respect someone with boundaries.
But I’ve noticed some odd restless behaviour over the last few days, and even some extra whining. She asks to go out basically every hour, and no matter how often we go, she charges out there like we have been boarded up for the winter. Each person or dog we pass, she whines at the idea of us having to keep our distance or even cross the street. A few times, she just stopped and stared back at something, and without seeing a squirrel or cat, it appeared to me that she wasn’t looking at anything in particular.
I couldn’t understand it at first. I thought it might be the warmer temperatures, but things haven’t changed that much over the last little while.
Then I figured it out.
She’s missing people. I hadn’t really thought about it, but while it seems like we don’t really interact with many people – I’ve even joked that my introverted life hasn’t really changed all that much – I realized that might not be so true for Nancy. Our usual day consists of getting up and walking the neighbourhood, stopping in for a coffee and walking back home, then doing three or four more walks through the day. What I don’t appreciate is the two or three stops we have where people or other dogs stop for a quick sniff-and-pet, not to mention the four or five people who pet her and tell her she’s pretty while I’m inside getting a coffee. (Like any good owner, if I see people petting her, I hang inside a bit, to avoid them politely stopping because I arrived.)
There’s been no “Aw, such a sweetie”, no lessons for kids on how to scratch *under* the chin or on the chest, no “That’s alright” when she jumps up to get the right spot attended to – none of that for a whole week.
I’m doing my best. I’m generous with the treats, I’m giving extra scratch sessions, I’m telling her all about her cute spots and her strong legs and remind her often about it’s time for a rubbing of her soft bellies. But I guess it’s not exactly the same. I get it. We’ll get through it (we all will, by the way) and she’s happy to stay home if it means people are being safe, but it’s also okay if she mourns a little about the lost social life.
And I guess it’s okay too for me to feel a little insulted seeing her lament and whine when she can’t say hello to someone and then go sit on the bed on the other side of the room. 🙄