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Pandemic Hack: Stuck At Home? It’s Time to Get a Dog

In these days of social distancing and shelter in place, we’re all feeling a little lost. How do we retain some semblance of normal? What’s a routine that makes sense? How can we find purpose in our days? Do we have to wear pants?

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For my two college kids who find themselves home for the foreseeable future, I do have one thing going for me. When they are in this zip code, they do tend to burrow in. Home means staying up most of the night and sleeping through most of the day. It means lying on the couch and watching awful shows on television or reruns of Harry Potter movies. It means Xbox in the basement.

Given our current predicament, this is all fine, but how sustainable is this life?

I obviously wasn’t the only one thinking these thoughts. Prior to coming home, my daughter commented that we needed to get a dog. The last time she uttered these words, she was in first grade. Though we tried to resist her as we already felt completely undermanned with three busy kids, we failed/hit the jackpot and added Charlie the chocolate lab to our family.  After providing almost 13 years of love and comfort to our family, we had to put her down in September. We weren’t ready for another dog, and as empty nesters, we also wanted a breather.

But my, how circumstances have changed. I started thinking about the benefits of her idea:

  • She is old enough to truly be responsible for the dog’s wellbeing
  • She has nothing but time on her hands
  • Since no dog sleeps until noon, having a dog will enforce a schedule, which means that I don’t have to
  • Walking the dog will give everyone some mandatory fresh air
  • You have to put on pants to walk a dog (for the record, I think pajama pants are okay for this task)
  • Somewhere, there’s a dog that needs our family

As we mulled over the idea, our daughter contacted local shelters to ask about fostering (another benefit was watching her use all of her life skills to take charge of this situation). She filled out applications, fielded phone calls and emails, and set up our appointment to go meet the dog who is now snuggling on my red couch.

It turns out that this dog needed us, but we also needed her. We are all smitten with this 86-pound, 6-year-old, blue-grey sweetie pie. Her tail hasn’t stopped wagging as she follows us around, she loves all of the new sniffs and sights, and she already has a way of keeping watch over us as she wanders from room to room to make sure that we are all where we are supposed to be. As for us, we even think she’s cute when she drools. Call it a Corona love story.

Jody has spent her life around teens, as a teacher and as a parent of three.

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