May 12, 2015
As most know, Chicago has been stricken with a plague recently. Now, don’t fret for your own well-being; this plague doesn’t affect humans. However it does affect our furry friends. I am referring to the canine flu that has been floating around the city for the past few months. And while we do know how it affects dogs physically, we don’t know how they feel about the disruption to their normal routine. So, I took it upon myself to find out just that by interviewing one of the dogs that I walk, Wrigley, a 13 year old Golden/Lab mix.
It took a while to rouse him from his nap. (Please note all responses are based on interpretations)
Marco: So Wrigley, how have you been?
Wrigley: [wags tail] Hello human! Is it time to walk?
Marco: Haha, not yet. First, I want to ask how you feel about the dog flu.
Wrigley: [tilts head] Dog flu?
Marco: Yeah, do you know about it? It’s the reason why you aren’t allowed to get close to other dogs when we go on walks right now.
Wrigley: [sits down and grunts] Is that why? Well that’s no fun, not being allowed to socialize. You young whippersnappers have no idea how lucky you are, what with your doodads and your thingamabobs. Back in my day, the only communication we had was sniffing butts!
Marco: I’m sorry, but isolation is necessary for your own safety, especially since you’re an older gentleman.
Wrigley: [scratches ear] Necessary, huh? Don’t you think it’s a bit unfair though? Depriving us of time to talk and play?
Marco: Well, I guess I never thought of it that way.
Wrigley: [places paw on Marco’s knee] I know, son, I know. You youngin’s often don’t!
Marco: Is there anything we could do to make it easier for you?
Wrigley: [tilts head and barks] You could take us to the parks more often. Oh, or the beach; the beach is really great! Especially since the weather is warm again, it’s great to cool off–it gets hot under all this fur, you know.
Marco: Actually, the thing about that is, uh, we can’t. What if there are other dogs there? We need to make sure you don’t get infected! Your health and well-being are very important!
Wrigley: [Barks] Exercising and playing are also very important for my well-being and health! You can’t expect me to not get to be social and do nothing; that’s incredibly dull!
Marco: Maybe there’s a compromise that can be reached?
Wrigley: [Wags tail] Well, I do like playing fetch, even if it’s just inside. You could tell them all that: play inside with us. There are plenty of games that can stimulate our minds and give us exercise.
Marco: You know that’s not a half bad idea, I’ll be sure to mention it. Now who’s ready for a walk?!
And there you have it. The dog flu may be a dangerous thing, but dogs don’t know that. They just wonder why it’s finally warm again and they don’t get to socialize or play: two very important things for an animal with a social, pack-oriented nature. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help alleviate some of that. Playing inside or going for an extra-long walk is a great way to help keep the pup happy and healthy, especially after such a brutal winter.
Marco has been with Rover – time for nearly 10 months now. You can also spot him at Jameson Loves Danger giving treats to all the dogs. He enjoys dogs of all sizes but the bigger and fluffier the better.