‘My dog hates lockdown and I think he now hates me too’

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  • Prior to lockdown, I had assumed that spending unlimited time with me would have been an exciting prospect. Yet it seems, even a Cypriot rescue puppy with separation anxiety has a limit.

    As I begin to picture life outside of the compound that has dutifully served as home/co-working space/Fitness First for the last few months, there is one member of my household who is near combustable with anticipation for me to leave the house: my dog.

    The novelty of him having Human on Tap™ got boring the Tuesday after the first weekend of lockdown. That’s the day he sensed change. A seismic schedule shift had taken place without his consent and he soon realised that the fourth circle of hell was living in a perpetual cycle of walking back and forth from the kitchen office, to my boyfriend’s living room office, in half-hourly sweeps in an attempt to bring the livestock together (he’s 40% German Shepherd). A Sisyphean task that would only be completed when we were both indefinitely penned to the sofa, until it was time for us all to retire to bed.

    I fear he has yet to have his, ‘that’ll do pig, that’ll do’ moment.

    Lockdown anxiety has manifested itself in many ways. For me, it’s led to some acute moments of self-reflection courtesy of The Dog. Does he love me at much as I love him? Does he wish he was back on the streets of Cyprus procuring curbside bones for fun, instead of stuck inside this rented (yes, we can’t even afford a mortgage for him) basement flat? Does he think I’m boring?

    my dog hates lockdown

    “We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”

    Their love is unconditional. But so too, is their judgement.

    Whilst I, along with a large percentage of the world, have dutifully accepted the new WFH clothing mandate, whereby week-old hair and a bed T-shirt can easily be made ‘video meeting ready!’ by simply positioning yourself in front of a sun-lit window, thereby rendering your face obscured in shadow like a witness on Crimewatch, my dog has refused such assimilation (he is also 12.5% Poodle).

    Last week he looked at me in my ‘everyday’ joggers and made the sort of deep, whole body soul sigh that only someone who has seen, and smelt, too much can muster. Only then did I realise I had become far too confident in my wardrobe nonchalance, a problem only a 60 degree wash could fix.

    Every video call is an interference to his schedule. Anytime I readjust my kitchen chair in an attempt to prevent a herniated disk and/or lasting nerve damage, I disturb his slumber. I imagine he hasn’t been able to complete a 12-hour sleep cycle, uninterrupted, for the duration of lockdown. And for that, I can only apologise.

    And tonight, as he reclines on his human-grade Casper mattress, I know he will be staring at me in the darkness thinking, “Some people are crafting bespoke picnic tables for squirrels using only Solero lolly sticks and a can-do attitude, but what have you done for me?”.

    (Big sigh.)

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