I knew someone who, upon divorce, was replaced by a dog. When the husband moved out, the ex-wife bought a dog. The children were delighted.
Though the Dad saw and petted the dog when he picked up his sons, the dog never fully accepted him. He knew who needed him most.
I’ve been thinking about that when I see the presence of so many dogs as companions during the pandemic.
Starting with the self-isolation required back in March when COVID-19 had made its dangerous presence obvious, dog-owners had an acceptable need to get outside.
Dogs daily need food, exercise, and to eliminate waste. Even in the coldest weather, dog-owners had to go walkies with their pet.
But since March, I believe that the desire for a dog’s comforting presence as well as a reason for outdoor activity, has grown.
My questions: Are dogs never carriers of the novel coronavirus even though they’re exposed to many people and other dogs in parks?
Are there mental health advantages to owning a dog during a time of anxiety?
This is, and also is not, a relationship matter. I’ll start with the factual matter.
From the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, www.cdc.gov September 2020:
Based on limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations.
Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.
If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
From the World Health Organization (WHO) website: who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus, Q and A April 2020:
Several dogs and cats (domestic cats and tigers) in contact with infected humans have tested positive for COVID-19. Ferrets (also) appear to be susceptible to the infection.
However, there is no evidence that these animals can transmit the disease to humans and spread COVID-19 (which) is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.
In a few instances, minks that were infected by humans (most likely, by farm workers) have transmitted the virus to other people. These are the first reported cases of animal-to-human transmission.
It is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 and people who are at risk limit contact with companion and other animals. (Ellie - the italics are mine).
When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing after handling animals, their food or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.
WHO continues to monitor the latest research on this and other COVID-19 topics.
Now, for the relationship side of your question:
Pet-lovers, and especially those who are on their own, derive pleasure, company, and added purpose to their day, plus an energy boost in walking and caring for their pet, all of which is important to their mental/emotional and physical health.
Nevertheless, the science on Covid is still under study. It only makes sense to not risk the possibility of infection through the kind of close contact with a dog or cat that may yet be found a direct risk:
No licks to your face, no breathing in of the pet’s breath, no sharing food from your plate.
Enjoy them, while still protecting yourself.
I was close friends with a guy during high school and college. When he married, I became close with his wife.
Recently she posted something on social media about an incident in my neighbourhood. I knew a lot more about it because I live there.
Somehow my post explaining things more accurately really annoyed her and her response was nasty. I backed off and thought that was the end of it.
But recently, when I saw her husband, he didn’t even acknowledge me, just got in his car. I’m really hurt.
We tell our children that social media is open to the world, not a private exchange.
Yet many adults who should know better, post what they feel without taking a second look before sending.
Unless you’re privately messaging someone - on Facebook or any social media platform - I believe there’s no gain in having open/public disagreements.
The words often read colder and harsher than intended.
Tip of the day:
While scientific facts about COVID-19 are still emerging, self-protective measures with dogs/cats, remain necessary.