2020 For Your Furry Friend

January 4, 2021

We’re all so happy to kick 2020 to the curb. With the turning of a calendar page, we have renewed hope that we end the pandemic and will soon be able to gather again safely outside the home with friends and family.

While that’s great news for us, our dogs won’t be so thrilled.

There’s a comic circulating on social media where a couple of people and a couple of dogs look back on 2020. Their views are starkly different.

While most of us will easily categorize it as the worst year ever, our canine pals thought it was the bomb. Their humans didn’t leave for work. Their tiny humans didn’t go to school. That means so little time alone.

Everyone has been stressed, so there has been lots of snuggle time as every dog (and cat and bunny and hamster) takes on the role of emotional support animal. Because people have extra hours in the day, that means more playtime and walks. Everybody has been eating in or carrying out a lot so there have been tantalizing smells and maybe table scraps.

So many rules have probably been bent. Maybe the pup can now curl up on the couch or sleep in the bed if that wasn’t allowed before. All in all, it was a pretty amazing year. Rescue groups and shelters had a surge in adoptions and foster requests since the pandemic began. People figured since they were going to spend so much time at home, they might as well spend it with a pet that needed a family.

In addition, as adoptions increased, the number of strays and homeless pets declined.

Shelter Animals Count, a national database of shelter animal statistics, issued a COVID-19 Impact Report this summer tracking information from 1,270 organizations. It showed that 548,966 pets entered the shelters from March to June in 2020. compared to 840,750 during the same period in 2019. That’s a drop of about 35%.

There have been stories through the pandemic about animal shelters being empty as all pets were adopted or fostered. I know that some of the rescues I work with at times received many requests from new people wanting to foster for the first time or who were looking to adopt.

But now that these first-time dog owners or even long-time dog owners have lavished attention on their pets, what happens when the world goes back to some semblance of normal, hopefully soon?

Dog trainers and behaviorists will tell you that it’s important that you give your pet lots of alone time. If your dog didn’t have separation anxiety before, there’s a chance it will develop after you’ve been hanging out so much over the past many months.

If you haven’t been going into work and think you’ll start soon, be sure to gradually spend more and more time away from your dog. Take gradually longer outings without them and always leave things to keep them occupied like peanut butter-stuffed Kongs or indestructible toys that they only get when you’re away.

I am fostering the Treehugger puppies at my house. As adorable as they are, it’s tempting to just have them next to me all the time.

But I have two setups for them: one in a large pen in my office, and another downstairs. They get time playing and sleeping next to me and with my dog nearby, and then they get time in their other pen without people around so they entertain themselves.

I also make sure to play with each of them separately outside and inside so when they are adopted and will be separated from each other, hopefully that transition will be easier for them.

But it might not be easy for us when they leave. Our pets are playing a key role for us during this tumultuous, exhausting time. But for them, it’s been a pretty awesome year.
  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    K9s For Warriors

    January 7, 2021

    K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides military veterans suffering from severe PTSD, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma with service animals, recently changed the name of its main campus to honor its leader and founder Shari Duval. Duval began K9s For Warriors in 2011 after her son returned from two tours in […]

    Read more

    More Recent News