Pets provide comfort during crisis

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Tesse Benson and one of her dogs enjoy time together in the car. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

With the ongoing stresses of the coronavirus outbreak – isolation, loss of employment, missing relatives and co-workers and health concerns – pets are at hand and sometimes underfoot to soothe and provide hours of entertainment for their pet parents.

“I’d hate to be going through this without my animal friends,” Tara Butchart said. “While my son Daniel and husband Harold are essential workers and gone most of the day, and my son Austin is busy on his Xbox, the animals keep me company and keep me busy. The rhythmic purr of the cat calms me and my best pal German Shepherd Reba is always by my side, making me feel both incredibly safe and loved.

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Nicoli entertains owner Teresa Miller during the coronavirus pandemic. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

“On a practical level, the pigs, goats, ducks, bunny and chickens give me an order and rhythm to my day that might have otherwise been lost during this time. It’s been a little harder to come by certain foods, but the daily gift of eggs has kept us well fed and lent us a creativity we didn’t know we had when it comes to whipping up dishes using all those precious eggs. I could write a cookbook on egg dishes after this,” she said.

Livestock certainly make daily demands on their owners. They must be fed and watered, their areas cleaned and needs addressed. Stay-at-home orders mean nothing to people’s hooved and feathered friends and animals expect their routines to be unchanged.

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Erinne Roscoe’s three dogs give comfort during the coronavirus stay at home order. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

“The stock is keeping me busy and focused on taking care of them rather than worrying about everything else,” Teresa Miller said. “The dogs and my family enjoy snuggling and watching TV shows together. I’m working on getting back on my horse after a four-year recovery from a horse accident. I hope to sit on him again and take at least a few steps during this lockdown. My doctor isn’t going to be happy, but I have to live life while I can, just gotta do it.”

Others with health issues must isolate for their own well-being. Pets are taking care of their mental health, providing good vibes and a reason to get up and move.

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Anchor enjoys hanging with owner Cindy Kelly. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

Dominique Leard Rauton said, “I’ve been living this lockdown lifestyle for five years now. Aside from the entertainment, comfort and devotion they give, having animals brings a sense of normalcy and routine. No matter how you feel, you still have to get up and care for them. That routine remains untouched whether it’s due to the pandemic or other issues.”

Many people that lead solitary lives depend on the company of their furry friends.

“My dog is the only one I talk to all day because I live alone,” Cindy Kelly said. “He nudges me to pet him and he feels when I’m sad and brings me his tug toy. Can you imagine my life without a dog? There would be so much more sadness alone. He is literally my best friend; he goes everywhere with me. He’s a Queensland heeler and I am a healer, so we match. I named him Anchor because my son went to the Navy and I am a fisherman. I feel that this dog is my anchor. He keeps me entertained for hours trying to catch just one little bunny who always outwits him.”

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Lambs can be a source of entertainment and comfort. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

Both dogs and cats can be empathetic toward human emotions, sensing when their owners are stressed, sad or worried. They are good interpreters of body language and very perceptive.

“My sweet puppers never fail to be happy, and their snuggles and wags make me smile even when things seem dark,” Erinne Roscoe said. “My old man kitty purrs me to sleep when my mind won’t let things go.”

“They keep me sane. There’s never a dull moment with three dogs and a kitten,” Tesse Benson said.

As the pandemic grinds across the nation, the stay-at-home orders will remain in place indefinitely and their animal friends are helping keep them grounded.

“They are a constant source of support and love. They really need you, and I think they really stop you from having a pity party for yourself,” Patricia Lombardi said.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.