This year, COVID-19 has changed quite a lot. Social distancing and the lack of communication have caused a rift in everyday life. Yet, there seems to be one benefit: we get to spend all this extra time at home with our beloved pets. This April 11, we celebrated our furry friends- and not-so-furry ones too- for National Pet Day.
In order to spread some happiness around campus, I went looking for some university students with pet pals of their own. Pets have a special meaning to us pet owners, and many animal choices can speak to our personalities. There are the reptilian lovers, the farm animal experts and the domesticated fur parents. With so many animals to buy and so many to save, it is always a joy to bring someone new into the family. The quarantine has given many people the opportunity to discover a new part of themselves, and a new side to their pets.
Throughout the pandemic, we have all tried new things in an attempt to rid ourselves of boredom. A few of us might have tried puzzles, board games, technology, or some of us got the trifecta. Learning how to handle our kids, work and school. One thing is for sure though, our pets at times, don’t make it easy.
We have to remember that this has been an adjustment for our pets, too. I spoke to Micah Rodriguez about her three cats. The black one is named Jasper, the gray one is named Little Bit, and the tabby one cat is named Tuck. While cats are known for their attitude and sass, it seems like there is never a dull moment in this house of three.
“Jasper tends to think Zoom calls are his time to shine,” Rodriguez said. “He normally likes to yowl or flash his fanny like it’s his Only Fans page.”
The gentle side note gives us a great idea as to what we should expect from this cat. He spends most of his time with Micah while she works, but they all take care of their human.
“They have a way of sensing when I am stressed and tend to cuddle up to me,” Rodriguez said. “They also provide company and entertainment.”
In our world, any form of entertainment will do. Having a pet can be a job in itself. There is a lot to handle with them when they destroy everything, but they seem to always think of us in the end. Even if that means barking during our online meetings and flashing their tail ends now and again during a Zoom call.
Luckily, online calls and virtual meetings have allowed for more schedule freedom. While in the past there was always a time for the commute, for class, for food and for work; we find ourselves having more free time.
For Danielle O’Brien, her pets have encouraged her to go outside more during her time at home.
“With the lockdown, it was hard to find moments to leave the house and staying inside all day, every day was damaging our physical and mental health,” O’Brien said. “Beanie and Kota love going on walks and playing in the backyard, so they kept us out in the sun and moving.”
Walking your pet is a task that can be burdensome at the end of a long day. Quarantine has allowed us to not only gain more chances to play and exercise our pets but ourselves as well. Going out and trying new things is a great way to make it through quarantine with your pet. Take an extra walk or two and get a little extra sunshine.
At the end of the day, whether we are working from home or not, our pets are the loyal ground for us to stand on. Never wavering and always caring.
“Zoe is my best friend and I know she’ll always be there for me through my ups and downs. She’ll always hold a special place in my heart,” Brittany Christian said.
Her dog seems like a handful but is quite the opposite.
“She’s very quiet and aloof so I don’t have too many problems with her,” Christian said. “She has my back and I have hers, even when she misbehaves.”
While many of our pets have their moments of destruction or bad habit, we always get through it with them. We have a new opportunity to train our animals, but other times we take it in stride. In other words, we pet owners learn to put up with it.
This is what Jason Davis has learned to do with his dog, Nike. His worst habit is one that was rather hard to break—digging. Throughout the pandemic, we have had snow and rain, but it never stopped this dog. Quarantine has given Jason the perfect chance to fix up the yard and manage the grass, but he has come to leave one particular spot in his yard alone. This has been known as the “No-Go Zone” in his household.
The places every dog must bury their favorite toy or bone they will finish later.
“There is no point in trying to fix a broken clock,” Davis said. “Eventually, I’ll get around to making him move holes, but it isn’t too much of a concern. It is a pain, but he is a happy dog and I love him, even if he tracks dirt everywhere.”
We all come in a little dirty, and some pets more than most.
One thing is for certain, the pandemic has been colorful with our pets around. Whether they are showing off in Zoom calls, getting us in the sun, helping us get out and about or being our number one companions, everyone’s pets are unique, and each has its own stories to tell. They are our emotional support, our backbone, the thorn in our side and our best friends. At least they always manage to keep us entertained.
Consider how COVID-19 has affected your pets and how. Just remember to give them all the attention you can for now, who knows how long quarantine will last. Your pet will miss you, so give them plenty of treats and spoil them while you’re still stuck socially distancing from people. Animals are way cooler anyway.
If you do not have a pet and are thinking of getting one, please consider visiting the many animal shelters in Little Rock when looking for one. Little Rock Animal Village, North Little Rock Animal Shelter and Humane Society of Pulaski County are all wonderful options to choose from in the Little Rock area.
Every animal needs a forever home and you never know what animal you could end up saving.