Who could’ve imagined that the surge in household dogs during the pandemic would come with a set of drawbacks. I always thought that objectifying puppies by gifting them to your family as a festive Christmas present was bad enough but, apparently that’s not the case anymore. We seem to be stuck in our apartment anyway so we might as well invest in a cute four legged entertainer to get as through these boring, gloomy days.
When in reality, introducing a dog in your household when the severe travel and social distancing restrictions overlap with that specific time frame of your puppy’s development stage that demands extensive socialization, is a no good, very bad idea. Unfortunately that is something many failed to consider, leaving us with a generation of dogs that where not given the opportunity to properly integrate in to society.
A comfortable apartment acts like a vacuum, shielding the young dog from the all the noises, the clutters, the banging exhaust pipes and the motorbikes with the manically revving engines. Not to mention all the other butt-sniffing, face-licking, space-intruding pups.
As stressful as living in a city might be, our pre-pandemic lives have bestowed us with a wealth of experiences that are absent from the lives of our new companions. For them the is no ‘’pre-pandemic’’. Unlike us, they did not merely adopt the isolation. They where born in it. Molded by it. By the time they set their paws in the local dog park every opportunity for successful socialization had already been long gone.
It’s all well and good when you are in the comfort of your home where every stimulus has been dialed down to zero but, as soon as you step outside and get hit with the realization that for the next 10-15 years you will have to care for a dog that’s terrified of it’s own reflection, let alone the sudden construction noises that echo from across the street, it won’t be long before resentment begins to make itself at home.
Then it growls at a baby. But did he actually growl though? You are not quite sure so it’s better not to jump to conclusions. You must’ve misheard. His teeth weren’t barred and you are sure that that faint rumbling noise was a figment of your imagination. But the damage has been done and you feel your heart sink when a small boy nonchalantly approaches you with it’s arm extended and a soft smile painted across it’s face.
At the very last moment you decisively reel your dog in like a fish. You cup his belly with the palm of your hand and pull him upwards, turning the child’s smile in to a stormy frown before a rightfully concerned mother steps in to frame, grasping her son’s outstretched hand and dragging him away.
The bloody thing is vibrating, you tell yourself and you look downward, catching a swift glimpse of his pristinely white, dangerously sharp teeth. His menacing snare instantly disappears, but the damage has been done, the sweet, playful and loving outer shell has been irreparably destroyed.
There is a four-legged impostor In your house and he is eating your dogs food. Your clumsy six year old is laying next to him on the living room carpet and there is something festering inside you, something that’s keeping you on the verge of getting up from the sofa, grabbing him by the scruff of his neck and taking him down to the local shelter.
This is the sad reality now in the U.K, where 3.2 million households had welcomed a pet in to their homes during the lockdown.
Now that the restrictions have been lifted and people are returning to work, a large number of owners have said that they will be unable to care for them and, as unfortunate as that might be for all the shelters which will be forced to carry the burden of their mistakes, I must say that such an event was greatly expected.