Well, our big lovable dog’s name is actually Nico. He’s always been a bundle of energy. Of course, he slowed down a lot when he turned 12, and we thought it was just because of his age. He lost a bit of the spring in his step and stopped cheering when we came in the door. We didn’t realize that the COVID isolation was affecting him, too.
As with most people, we cancelled all our travel plans when the pandemic hit, and we thought Nico would be happy to have us home all the time—but he actually seemed depressed.
He wasn’t as enthusiastic about his treats or his daily walks, but we admit that the walks have been shorter and more isolated during the pandemic.
When we (the humans) couldn’t take another day of isolation, we decided to take a road trip to Lake Erie to visit my best friend who had just moved there before everything shut down. We usually take Nico to stay with his grandparents when we travel—he loves visiting with them—but we didn’t want to put our parents at risk, so we took Nico on the road with us.
We were amazed to see his energy restored immediately when we got to Erie. He got to play with the kids and two other big dogs 🐕 and even got to chase a few cats around🐱. He got to swim in the lake and run around outdoors. He was so excited that he smiled the whole 6-hour drive home.
When we returned home, he began happily trotting on his walks again and bouncing around when we came in the door! He didn’t seem nearly as tired anymore. Who knew he had been depressed because of the COVID isolation, too? Perhaps we should have known. He’s always been up for an adventure, so when the seemingly endless days on the couch were merely interrupted by brief walks and feedings, he got a bit lackluster.
The trip to Erie went so well that we decided to take him with us on a road trip through New England to rural Maine. Wow did he enjoy it! Again, he got to run through the woods and play at the water. He even got to hang out at a few outdoor restaurants on the wharfs.
He smiled big and licked our faces and let us know how much the adventure meant to him.
A lot has changed in everyone’s lives this year. There is a silver lining—or maybe a solid gold advantage that we didn’t even realize. We got to spend this amazing quality time with Nico in his older years and create precious memories that will last a life time.
The same goes for the time I cherish with my 16-year-old cat, Chloe. I’ve been working from home since March and set up shop in the guest room. We have a daily routine now. I put my laptop on a tray table, get comfortable with pillows and blankets, and she jumps up into my lap under the table and and cuddles up for the day—occasionally popping up to make guest appearance in my Zoom meetings. These are the beautiful moments that stem from an unfortunate time in the world.