A dog is for life, not just for lockdown, and judging by the eye-watering prices lockdown puppies have been fetching and the reported rise in dog theft during the pandemic this appears to be truer than the original slogan.
I can certainly vouch for it having fallen in love with my dog Iris all over again since March. And this despite her endless fascination for rolling in fox poo on our walks; the midnight patrolling around the house which she refuses to do without human company, along with her immaculate timing at getting involved with every single zoom call just at the crucial moment.
As a relatively recent convert to dog ownership I am now one of those irritating evangelists who believes that dogs are the cure-all.
During lockdown#1 Iris and I spent many hours exploring new walks. She gave me a reason to get out and enjoy the weather and take a break from the relentless gloom of daily press briefings and grim statistics. Whilst we may not have encountered many others – human or other – on our (limited) travels, it was fresh air and freedom with a purpose.
Walks during lockdown#2 seem different but no less pleasurable. The dog walking fraternity has always been quite chatty, comments on the cuteness, the loudness, the outfits, or just passing the time of day. These days our walks could go on all day as people want to, and maybe need, to chat a bit more. I love every conversation, whatever the weather. And able to meet up with someone outside and walk with the dog under the current restrictions has become a new way of socialising, far preferable to zoom cocktails, so post covid, will definitely be a staple of the new going out…
As the days get shorter and we spend even more time at home so Iris has also provided an indoor programme of entertainment, loosely termed dog training, which will take us way past lockdown#3 I suspect to even begin to perfect. She may never make it to the heats of the local dog show, but I am confident that eventually Iris will think about maybe sitting on command, occasionally stay at the slightest movement of a finger, and might even cease barking at the postman and of course every zoom caller.
Iris has no interest in the news, Strictly or the latest box set, preferring instead to snore ever so gently on the top of the sofa behind my head. We don’t even need to have a conversation about what’s for dinner because she’ll eat anything. And yet, she’s both company and the perfect companion.
With my new found zeal I feel sure that dogs could solve many problems we currently face. You don’t even need to own a dog. In normal times, therapy dogs visit hospitals and care homes providing much welcomed companionship and contact for so many people. It seems that they could have played a really important role in the current situation regarding visiting in care homes.
For those shielding or continuing to isolate, organisations such as borrowmydoggy.com, might be a fantastic way to enjoy a dog without the hassle of post fox poo bathing or every-day walking. Perhaps a neighbour has a friendly pooch who could spend the afternoon or even take their bone for the occasional sleepover (the pooch not the neighbour).
Perhaps someone is looking for something to do during furlough, or searching for a job, providing a dog-walking service perhaps for someone who can’t get out so much, or in the winter, might be beneficial for all parties. Organisations such as rover.com could provide the introductions.
The days of pot-bellied Vietnamese pigs, house rabbits and tamagotchis as beloved pets may be long gone, but of course it doesn’t have to be a dog. A cat, a goldfish or a hamster will I am sure do the trick just as well. Probably less fox poo too.
Iris is a two year old mini schnauzer. She works part-time for Age Space and spends the rest of her day playing with her friends in the park, snoozing, or on zoom calls. All views are her own :).