Pandemic Pet Parent Ponderings
Life before the pandemic is starting to become a faded memory. I can no longer fully remember the joy of seeing friends for dinner, or going to a concert or fundraiser for a shelter. It all seems so long ago. At one point I was so angry about it all, and people behaving badly (COVID parties, really?) that I was ready to punch the next person who grinned widely and cheerful chirped "It's the new normal you know!"
Remember getting fully dressed versus spending the day in pajamas? Thank goodness I'd ordered 6 pajama sets on clearance back in March (the other ones were so threadbare I'd have had the police called on me for indecency when checking the mail or filling the bird feeders out front!
I had to dust my shoes the other day because I haven't worn any of them since March. All I wear are my ratty "park sneakers" to do chores at home and my weekly run for fresh fruit and vegetables and salmon. I miss wearing pretty shoes but they don't really go with pajamas.
The last time I carried a purse was in April. I stopped taking it to get gas or go on the weekly store run or take the dog to the big park because then I had to sanitize it and that took a lot of precious rubbing alcohol. I put my keys in my jeans or shorts pockets (yes I DO get dressed for the outings), my credit card in my pocket, a hand sanitizer and a poop bag (for the dog). No big purse on my arm to lug around is really freeing; must be how men feel! I have gotten to really like not carrying that big purse everywhere. I guess I really didn't need all that stuff with me after all!
My tube of mascara has dried up because I haven't opened it since April. I discovered that beige matt eyeshadow can be dusted on hair roots to cover grow-out very nicely. And, if I held the scissors vertically, I could actually cut my bangs without looking like Eddie Munster!
There's never been a time I was more thankful for pets, rescues and wildlife, and my Veterinarian who continued to see clients. Senior special needs cat Alex would have passed away if he had stopped. The animals in my life, when all human contact was suddenly and completely cut off, kept me going in terms of morale and a light in the bleak darkness. Their love and companionship beat back the ever present pandemic borne depression and anxiety, especially in the early weeks of the crises.
I learned to TRULY appreciate and look forward to the little things (and not just say that, like one says "Have a nice day"). Milo dog's cookie dances. Alex cat's chat sessions. Garth terrorizing the dog. The squirrels and blue jays fussing at the ferals who are so well fed by me they have zero interest in hunting them. The daily dove happy hours in the courtyard where I put the peanuts and sunflower seeds. The wrens hopping upside down in the window sill to eat the bugs. The deer bringing their babies to the water bowls at night, and finishing up the bird seed while the babies nursed. Looking up at the moon and stars; something before I had rarely remembered to stop and do. Now it was comforting to know that the earth was still in one piece and that sky was the proof.
There's no question I am looking forward to seeing humans again (besides my Veterinarian for about 5 minutes once a week when he brings Alex back to me). To sitting at a cafe having a coffee again. Having people over for dinner. I try not to put any expectations on when that will be, because that only leads to anxiety and depression - because there is no answer right now. I have literally learned to take it one day at a time - another expression I used to roll my eyes at, and now I have discovered the true value of that attitude. It is truly sanity preserving. In the meantime, I will continue to laugh with my pets, walk with them, play with them, talk to them, hug them, and curl up to sleep at night with them. I'm so thankful I have them.
Wishing all the pet parents safety, healthy, and fuzzy love until life returns to a sane normal.
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