As all of our lives are being upended by the new “abnormal”, it feels imperative to look for a silver lining. Thankfully, for those of us with pets, social isolation is not isolation. Our animal companions provide us with love and comfort – the best way to strengthen our immune systems. However, with the rest of our lives being cancelled, what can we do to take advantage of the gift of time? How can we make social isolation as painless as possible.
As we all shelter in place, one of the most heartening by-products that I’ve seen is people out and about with their dogs – exercise and fresh air – all good. With schedules cleared, what other ways can your pets enrich your life and you theirs? Here’s my list:
- Train tricks – cats too! This is a great way to deal with cabin fever for you and your pets. Whether it is sit, stay or high five, treat everything as a trick. Youtube.com is loaded with dog trick videos. Kids are stars at teaching dog tricks with their high squeaky voices and enthusiasm. A wonderful way for the entire family – human and animal – to bond.
- Environmental enrichment – cats too! Check out https://www.rover.com/blog/dog-enrichment-z/ “21 Simple Tricks to Make Your Dog Happier, Smarter and Less Bored Every Day”. Our stores are loaded with the puzzle toys mentioned in the article. Several styles are good for cats. (A few of the suggestions are not applicable at this time.)
- Take a nature walk. If you’re in NY – https://www.bringfido.com/attraction/trails/state/new_york/. If you’re in CT – https://www.ctvisit.com/articles/great-places-hike-your-dog. Our area is blessed with beautiful natural spaces that allow dogs. It’s spring – the perfect time for hiking.
- We’ve saved the best for last. . . cuddle up on the couch with the dog, the cat, the kids, the significant other and laugh and talk or watch a good movie.
We are experiencing traumatic times and treading in unchartered waters. But if you turn off the news and spend time with your friends, family, pets and get out in nature, it may be easier to bear.