They give us that knowing smile, full of warmth and connection. I speak not of friends, lovers or peers, but our furry four-legged companions.

 

Throughout all of the difficult times in our lives, many of us have turned to our pets for support. So much so that “therapy dogs” have grown in prominence to help relieve stress on school campuses everywhere. https://humberetc.ca/percy-the-therapy-dog-provides-stress-relief-to-stu...

 

I don’t own a dog, but I enjoy pet-sitting whenever I can find the time to board other people’s dogs. It was back in early March when I was anticipating sitting Bean, a unique Boston Terrier-mix.

 

There’s a funny video on YouTube that showcases the full intelligence of the breed: a dog named Tuxedo that is capable of riding a scooter and skateboard because it effortlessly walks on its front or hind legs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud0rDStsCdc). Bean was equally intelligent—she just tended to use her smarts to obtain attention and treats, period.

 

One time, I was trying to do work at the outside patio of Starbucks, which just happens to be next to Popeye’s Chicken. Wouldn’t you know it? Bean started howling and demanding drumsticks from every person within range. Other times, she would veto a walk in a certain direction by sitting down—no matter where we were.

 

There’s something wonderful about having a dog as a companion. The way they always seem optimistic about the world. Their ability to disarm complete strangers and create warmth in any situation.

 

As luck would have it, the owner was unable to travel to Mexico and I never got to see Bean this April. A consolation was seeing her in an unassuming photo from her puppy days.

 

Now that almost everyone works from home, dog sitting opportunities have vanished.  Under the current circumstances, one cannot approach someone who is walking their dog on the street. 

 

There has been increasing interest in the adoption of local animals  ( https://www.blogto.com/city/2020/04/covid-19-dog-rescue-toronto/ ) , but that comes with many caveats. New owners must understand the full responsibility of a dog. They aren’t a fun amusement to see the pandemic through; rather, they are members of the family for life.

 

Virtual dog visits are now being offered (https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/we-re-missing-you-therapy-dogs-provide-virtua...) for those in need. Sure, they aren’t the real thing, but neither is Zoom.

 

Those lucky enough to have their cherished pets nearby must feel tremendous gratitude during these long days. If you’re close to your dog, give it a friendly pet.

 

The rest of us will have to make do with photos from days by gone.