The Power of Four Legs

I am on what seems like day 1,256 of isolation. At work, we are in our own offices with doors shut an only meet via webcam. At home, it’s just me and Marshall (my 65 lb furry friend). I cannot imagine what it’s like being quarantined in a home with a house full of people. With young kids that parents are now homeschooling. I can say, being alone is super hard too. Those with a house full can’t run away from their family. Those of us living alone, can’t run too our family. Anyway, I wrote about the lack of human contact last time. But before getting into the heart of my post, funny story time:

I have been talking with friends and family over video chats. Lots and lots of video chats. That’s how I do my work these days too. The other night, while sleeping, I got hot. I ended up stripping down to just my panties while sleeping. Hot and cold, blankets on and off, all night long. Well, every time I kicked my blankets off, I jolted awake, grabbing for the blankets, thinking someone was going to see me on our webchat. Yep, my brain is in webchat mode even when sleeping.

So, back to the blog. About a year and a half ago I found myself searching for a four legged companion for my wonderful Spyder dog. I am pretty picky when it comes to dog searching. I believe in rescue, and I truly believe the dog picks you. I always have in mind what kind of dog I will get and that’s never the dog I end up with. Marshall was no different. I was determined I was going to leave with some sort of pit bull. But I saw him online and on a whim, wanted to see him. It took about 2 seconds for me to realize we were meant to be together. I jumped through all the hoops and Spyder got to meet Marshall. It went really well and Marshall became a part of my family. I didn’t know then, just how much I needed him.

With Spyder no longer with me except for summers and breaks, I am so grateful to have him for a companion. And now, with the quarantine, he is my apocolypse partner. I think he totally feels my needs for hugs. Since the first day I had him, I realized he gives hugs. The first time he put his paws on my shoulders I thought he may be a humping dog. But he isn’t. He puts his paws on my shoulder and leans his head into my neck. It’s just a loving act. When I come home from work every day, he gives me a hug to greet me before running to go outside. I have said, multiple times, that I miss human contacts and I just need a hug. The truth is, I am getting hugs from Marshall. And he seems to know I need really big hugs.

Our four legged friends are family and the love they give is unconditional. I have always known that and always loved having pets in my life. But now, when I am stuck in my house alone, I have gained an entirely new appreciation for what Marshall brings to my life. I have conversations with him, we eat together, and when I need to cry, he’s my shoulder. He was not put in my path by mistake.

Work has been extremely stressful. We are working so hard to make sure we continue to support people with substance abuse issues and serious mental illness. But the processes to keep everyone safe are different and we are adjusting to the system and trying to remain positive for our clients. There have been days I have just had to come home and cry. One hug, one nuzzle, one tail wag from Marshall, and I can feel the stress begin to melt away. That unconditional love these pets give have a way of removing the stress of a really tough day, week, month even a year.

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