COVID Dog

Perro Covid

Her name is Cherry, she is a hound that could well be a Walker Coonhound or a Harrier (She looks a bit like a Beagle only bigger) She is very active and very sociable. I think she loves our neighbours more than us and she doesn’t like being alone. Cherry is a COVID dog.

«We cannot have a dog because we are never home.» My two children have wanted a dog since they were little and we were against it because, in reality, it seemed to us that we spent little time at home. For many years that was our main argument but we had others handy just in case: It is very expensive to have a dog in Canada. Dogs need exercise. You won’t want to take it out when it’s cold. Where are we going to leave it when we travel. The vet costs a fortune.

And…what if we have a dog? The day came when Pily (my wife) and I asked ourselves the question seriously. The truth is that we both grew up in Mexico having pets and it is an experience that we always remember with joy. When you are a child, your dog is your companion in mischief with the advantage, for the dog, that there are no consequences; If you allow him to do something then that’s okay. As a child, taking care of my dog was easy, my grandmother lived with us and she took care of her feeding. I helped with the walks and sometimes with the cleaning. The dog was kind of a super toy, it required more attention, but it was also a lot more fun.

In the end, I don’t know what was more important: wanting to give our children the experience of a pet that was not a fish or, even knowing that the roles would be different, wanting to bring back something from our childhood. Perhaps it was simply that, like many families in Toronto, we wanted to join the trend of having a dog during the pandemic.

Our process was as follows: 1. Collect points to win the dog (my children had to be more diligent with their chores and be more disciplined at school to win the dog) 2. Identify the right breed according to our preferences and lifestyle. 3. First reality check: adopting a dog is very difficult during the pandemic: the waiting lists are endless. 4. Second reality check: dogs cost a lot of money in Canada. Thousands of dollars. In Mexico, if you don’t care too much about the breed, you will always find someone who is giving away puppies. 5. We thought it would take us years to get a dog: After several weeks of starting the plan we felt that there was not much progress. 6. A stroke of luck: one day during the week, at 10:00 in the morning, I see an ad that someone sells puppies, I write and I am the first on the list.

It was total love at first sight. We met Cherry and threw our research in the trash. We thought it was a Jack Russell (a breed that we had ruled out at first) but it turned out to be a breed that we didn’t know existed. We thought it would be small and we had to change its crate twice because she kept growing. She chews on everything like every other puppy and her energy is endless. We found that her breed is very difficult to train but COVID dogs have a huge advantage: COVID dog owners these days spend most of their time with their dogs.

Few people talk about the social aspect of having a dog. Before, it was not evident to us how easy it is to interact with someone who has a dog. Thanks to her we have met neighbours that we had never seen despite having been in our house for 8 years. Now we talk to more people at the park, share training tips and organize pet play-dates. Even children, whose ability to ignore the presence of adults is remarkable, come to talk.

In life, it is normal that our interests as well as family circumstances make us belong to many different groups, many tribes. For example: there is the tribe of runners, parents with children who play tennis, and ladies who weave macrame. Each of these tribes has a characteristic culture. For me, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the group of dog owners is one of the most diverse -hundreds of breeds for hundreds of personalities-, it is also one of the least competitive: every owner has a great dog and has no problem in appreciating the qualities of your own dog. Finally, it is a group very willing to start a conversation. After all, we appreciate dogs and want to hear about other breeds, other parks, other forms of training, better food; in other words, we want to know how to make our life with a pet more pleasant.

Cherry’s life revolves around food, walking to meet people and dogs, and recharging energy to repeat the cycle. Our life revolves around Cherry. It has been a positive change that would have been more difficult to organize in a different time. Cherry is our lovely COVID dog.

r.c.d. kreimerman

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