Lately there has been a surge of interest in how our lives have changed during some of the forced home quarantine and now some of us being able to return to work. I have been seeing a lot of separation anxiety cases, but many of the journals and pod casts that I subscribe to are challenging us to re-examine a day in the life of your pet.
When one leaves for a commute to an 8 hour day job and then runs errands on the way home, this could easily turn into up to 12 hours that your pets are left alone. I am home recuperating from a total hip replacement; I have the phone, friends, the internet, books, television, etc, but as the days and hours go by, even with this stimulation available to me I feel at times like climbing the walls.
How must it feel for dogs in crates, birds in cages, and cats confined to just looking out the window.
I have parrots in huge cages stuffed with interactive toys, including puzzle toys for food to keep them busy, and of course, when I am home, they are let out to fly and explore their play stands. But I make sure that the toys and perches are rotated and changed, with new toys in new places, on a regular basis.
I just took in a kitten from a shelter to foster her in order to be able to bring one of my client’s kitten here for Kitten Kindergarten, as he was being a Rogue with his older siblings in his new home. These two have tunnels to run through, street stands to climb, and window wells for outdoor Kitty TV. For single cats at home alone, there are actually specialty videos and streaming programs with such things as birds and fish and stimulating things to chase on the TV or large screen computers.
Dogs have begun to have a myriad of options, even to the extent of requesting a Take Your Dog To Work Day. If you have a teenage neighbor nearby, see if they could come over during the day and let your dog out for some play and a potty time. Family members can try to stagger coming home at lunch, and the dog walking and doggie daycare industries have boomed and are wonder options, but you must choose them well and carefully. There are even dog trainers who will come to the home and do Day Training for you, so you get the added advantage of a well-trained and relaxed dog when you come home!
Be creative in the ways in which you can enrich your pets’ lives. They may look patient and content, but put yourself in their paws or claws and imagine how 10 hours staring at the same four walls would feel to you, and then work to make a tirelessly fun day for them!