The pandemic rid everyone of a sense of stability and routine, and in all honestly, my pets were the only reason I managed to stay sane. Living at home and butting heads with my family amid the increasing lockdown stress, my pets naturally were a major form of emotional support. I made companions of my dog and cat, and they didn’t have a choice to challenge that. Perks of keeping them alive, I guess.
Looking at them, I was always aware that they didn’t have the slightest idea that the world was shutting down outside and were simply happy to have everyone around. This was something I had to keep reminding myself of, that this was temporary and that my family’s health and safety was the number one priority. Despite how this comes across, had I not had my pets around, I wouldn’t have been able to maintain this kind of perspective.
The Coronavirus also required drastic adjustment and establishment of a new routine. Finding ways to stay motivated and doing the things I used to enjoy pre-pandemic became difficult for me, and caring for my pets gave me some sense of routine and stopped the days feeling like they were all blurring into one. Their feeding time, walk time and play time gave my day a sense of structure and forced me to stick to it. With low mental health, caring for someone else can often give you the push you need for yourself.
Spending every day around them also taught me so much about their behaviour that I never would’ve noticed under normal circumstances.
I now know the exact noises my cat makes when there are birds outside, and I know which toys my dog actually enjoys playing with and which ones she throws around just to be polite. I have noticed how they interact with each other, and the little signals they do to let the other know how they’re feeling. As ironic as it sounds, the pandemic forced me to really notice the things around me. It only took a deadly global virus to snap things into perspective.
Just like everything at the moment, my relationship with my two pets has surely changed. I am now more aware of how to communicate with them, and can care for them more efficiently. I have also come to realise that I need them as much as (if not more than) they need me. Despite my clothes always being covered in fur and the fact that I cannot eat a thing without them begging for a bite, I cannot imagine my life without them. I wouldn’t change a thing, apart from the fact that they do not hesitate to remind me that it’s their house and I am simply living in it.
Either way, I have always been obsessed with my pets, but the pandemic has me buying extra iCloud storage for the million pictures I take of them daily.