What we can learn from the staying-at-home pros: our pets

I’ve started taking cues from my furbaby

preen-pet-alone

I’ve stopped keeping track of how many days I’ve spent quarantined inside my home. Life right now is a diminutive cycle of wake up-work-eat-sleep. Sure, life pre-quarantine was a lot like that too, but at least my days used to be littered with variables that I didn’t anticipate. I’m the least sociable member of my family and yet even I’m feeling the toll from the isolation. Stuck in the confines of our house, I’m now struck with awe by how my pet has adapted to this type of life. 

Not that my dog daughter, Cassie, was given much of a choice by moi. It’s true, officer! I am the Mother Gothel to her Rapunzel. While I pepper her snoot with kisses, I’m thinking sadly, “My chocolate shih tzu-poodle mix fur baby must be feeling strangled by my love.” And so I made a promise to treat her better once the quarantine is lifted. More surprise treats? Check. Longer walks in the neighborhood? You bet. Open windows when she’s riding the car? No problem.

Apart from the deeper appreciation for my pooch, I’ve also started taking cues from her. If our pets are pros in staying at home, what can we learn from them? Here are some tips that I’ve gotten from mine. 

Stay affectionate

It’s an instant pick-me-up when your pet starts cozying up with you. There have been several studies on the emotional power of touch and it can trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone that decreases responses related to stress. If the current state of affairs has been sowing negativity in the household, try giving out hugs and words of appreciation.  

Find fun in the small things

Pets can play with anything and look at the most mundane things with a sense of wonder. There’s not a lot to get excited about when you’re faced with the same-old stuff day in and day out. However, a change in perspective might just be the only thing you need. Spice up your every day by purposely looking for those small joys you might have been missing out on. Sniff out those mementos, make a game out of a chore or rearrange your space to better accommodate fun activities.

 

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Rest well after working hard

After playing a game of catch, my dog usually takes a nap. It might seem like you’re not exerting a lot of energy when you’re not covering a lot of distance at home. Working while taking in distressing global news is an undervalued feat that we should appreciate more. We don’t scold our pets when they’re too tired to be at our beck and call. We should extend that courtesy to ourselves. Rest when you need to.

Forgive yourself easily and don’t hold grudges

For those of us who are still working in the middle of the pandemic, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being hard on yourself. Isolated, these thoughts may take hold of us if we don’t push them away. When we discipline Cassie after she does something she’s not supposed to (like tip a bin over and rifle through garbage), she doesn’t seem to feel about it for too long. Instead of keeping a distance from us, she doesn’t hesitate to hop right back on our laps. Be patient with others and don’t limit the number of chances you give yourself. 

 

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Get hydrated

We’re always cleaning up after Cassie because she loves drinking water. She doesn’t need any reminding from me. Unlike her, I’m often dehydrated. My mom frequently tells me about the benefits of proper water intake. I need to be more conscious about my body’s needs and make it my priority to give it what it wants. Make sure that you’re stretching, drinking, eating and taking a bathroom break when your body demands it.

Relationships are two-way. We’re always trying to teach our pets some tricks but, we could learn from them as well. We can get through this community quarantine and do our best to keep our loved ones and our pets safe.  

 

Art by Tricia Guevara

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