REAL LIFE

‘It’s called social DOG-stancing’ Dave the beagle opens up about life in isolation

It's been ruff for our pets too!

*Written by Emma Levett and Jess Bell*

Five-year-old Dave the Beagle, from Melbourne, Vic, has had his life turned upside down by coronavirus too.

Looking up from my favourite spot on the couch, I could tell something was up.

The keys clattered in the door. My human, Sophie, 39, was home from work early and it looked like she’d had a ruff day, the paw thing.

Heaving myself up, I went to greet her. She had a lot of shopping bags so surely there would be a few treats for me.

After a cursory pat she started unpacking.

Pasta, rice… more pasta. And lots of toilet rolls.

Bow wowsers humans are so weird.

But as the days went on, the weirdness didn’t end. Sophie stopped going to work.

At first, I thought she was wagging, but then the calls started.

She was always on the phone to her boss and they kept talking about corona.

I knew she liked a drink but I thought margaritas were more her style.

And then my walks got really strange.

We’d see my crew, Fergus, Frank and Windsor, on our trip around the block, but Sophie stayed on the other side of the street choosing to yell at their humans.

‘Social dog-stancing,’ I think she called it, and they all had a little laugh.

Mind beagling!

Dogs have had to adjust to working from home too. Credit: Supplied
(Dogs have had to adjust to working from home too. Credit: Supplied)

Back home, I figured it all out at last. Dr Chris Brown was on TV, which always makes my ears prick up.

He was talking about a virus that humans were worried about catching.

He assured us dogs can’t get it though, which is pawsitive for me.

The problem is, my world has still been turned completely upside down.

My favourite barbecue chicken is all sold out.

There’s no sport to watch on TV and Sophie is at home all day long, ruining my peace and quiet.

Worse still, she’s taken to dressing me up for her amusement.

Every time a package arrives, I know that a new outfit is coming.

First it was a Hawaiian shirt, then a panda outfit and, the least dognified of all… a rabbit!

When she takes photos and loads them onto my Instagram page, @davethebeagle, she tells me it’s making other humans smile.

Initially embarrassed, I then pawsed and reflected.

Humans do seem a bit down at the moment.

Being stuck inside is not to be sniffed at.

It can be really hard work – especially if you have some of those small humans running around.

Maybe Sophie can be furgiven and I should enjoy making people happy.

Life is a bit of a dog’s breakfast at the moment and it’s the least I can do.

It’s the small things, right?

Also, if I play nice, maybe I’ll get extra barbecue chicken treats!

Dave the Beagles been making people smile online! Credit: Supplied
(Dave the Beagles been making people smile online! Credit: Supplied)

But how is isolation affecting our pets?

Adjusting to life confined inside our homes, there’s one thing we can count on to lighten the mood – pets.

We’ve seen dogs and cats interrupting online conference calls.

On social media, Instagram accounts like @dogsworkingfromhome, featuring pups in shirts and ties posed in front of computers, quickly became an online hit.

American weatherman Jeff Lyons even delighted viewers when he introduced his cat Betty live on air.

Now, Jeff’s weather reports are watched by more people than ever!

One couple in the UK came up with a genius way to trick their moggy, Ziggy, so they could get some work done.

Rebecca May, 29, and her husband Alex, 32, created a ‘fake lap’ using a pair of trousers stuffed with fabric. Complete with a heat pack inside to keep her warm, Ziggy was none the wiser!

The couple aren’t alone in finding their much-loved pets more needy than usual as they adjust to their owners working from home.

Alex and Rebecca May came up with a genius solution to keep their moggy occupied! Credit: Instagram
(Alex and Rebecca May came up with a genius solution to keep their moggy occupied! Credit: Instagram)

Magdoline Awad, Chief Veterinary Officer for Greencross Limited, said for most pets, having their owners at home all day is like Christmas come early.

But she urged people to stick to a routine, such as feeding or going for walks at the usual times, to keep their animals calm and happy.

‘Dogs are creatures of habit, just like us,’ she says. ‘Following a routine gives them a sense of predictability and reduces their anxiety.

‘The most important thing is to teach animals how to relax and be okay with being alone,’ she added.

She suggests creating an area with a few toys where they can feel safe and calm without the need for attention, as well as rewarding them for their alone time.

This space is especially important for young dogs and will help ease separation anxiety once people start returning to work.

When it comes to walks, Magdoline says while we may be chomping at the bit for some fresh air, not all canines are the same.

‘Many dogs don’t need marathon walks,’ she says.

‘We’re all tempted to take them out multiple times when we are home all day, but we’ve got to make sure we exercise our pets based on their ability.’

So whether your mutt’s delighted to have you at home more or your feline friend 
just needs a bit of their own space, this strange time is an adjustment for animals and humans alike.

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