It’s been 2 years since I lost my beloved dogs Tusker and Ernie, and recently I have been perusing the Petfinder website in consideration of increasing the responsibility in my life, and giving a dog a forever home. However, as soon I reach out to inquire about a potential candidate, the dog has quickly become as “unavailable” as a 12 pack double roll of Scott’s toilet paper. Since COVID19, pet fosters and adoptions have increased exponentially and as this news is an uplifting and positive trend for shelters around the country, it’s also because people are wanting to fill the void of isolation. The cautionary tale is, that once life as we knew it slowly comes back into focus, these recently acquired pets will be faced with a new paradigm of an owner whose schedule is not one of being present with them the majority of the time.
One thing we must learn, is that many opportunities are present in this pandemic. Opportunity to contemplate something not previously considered before. What is it like, to experience life in captivity? To experience scarcity, and reduced variety and selection on a day to day basis, an ongoing basis, with no end in site? What I hope it has done, is shed some light on the experiences of animals in captivity. For animals used in entertainment, confined feeding operations, the travel entertainment industry. Their every day existence is one of being removed from their natural habitat, and from the necessary social interactions with their comrades and community, all to become a salve for our own sense of disconnection. COVID19 has put a spotlight on our priorities, our blessings, and what is fundamental for our emotional well being. We were not meant to live in a box devoid of physical social interaction with others and our environment, and it’s taking it’s toll.
From our shelter in place experience, we can now understand the despondency, depression, isolation, and altered behaviors that develop from the lack of the most fundamental needs of all sentient beings. True connection.