ACROSS THE globe, people have begun to get used to the new normal, with many temporarily laid off or working from home, and unable to leave the house except for brief exercise and essential shopping.
But while the human race finds this difficult and frustrating, there are those for whom the lockdown is like a wish come true-- your pet dog.
Their human is home, and home a lot-- no more leaving early in the morning and coming back late at night, they're always around to shower their pup in love and affection, and to them it's worth missing out on the long walks they used to take.
But according to a new statement from animal charity Dogs Trust, this newfound time together could be causing more harm than good, and they have encouraged owners to spend time apart from their dogs even while they're in the same house.
The statement, released today, warned that people's pet dogs could develop separation anxiety once the lockdown ends, having become too reliant on human attention, and could become extremely anxious when their owners go back to work.
They urged people to try and stick to a normal routine as much as possible, feeding and walking their pets-- within the 2km restrictions-- at the same times as before.
They also recommended that the pets spend some time away from their owners, and suggested leaving your pet in a different room for some time throughout the day.
Acknowledging that this will be hard for pet owners to do when pets alleviate stress and their dogs gain so much happiness from being near them all the time, Head of Operations at Dogs Trust Ireland Karla Dunne explained:
"However, we need to be mindful that to our dogs, we are their whole world and the more time they spend in our direct company, they more they grow accustomed to it and may become upset when we are not around. So, we do need to prepare them for our return to normality, even if we’re not quite sure when that might be, preparing them now may avoid unnecessary distress for our dogs.”
Becky Bristow, Executive Director of Dogs Trust Ireland added that dogs suffering from separation anxiety can be tough to handle, and it could lead to more pets being abandoned.
“Last year, we received over 2,300 requests from members of the public wanting to surrender their dog to us," Ms Bristow explained.
"We are extremely worried that this figure could significantly increase this year if lots of dogs develop separation anxiety and become potentially unmanageable for their owners. Anxious dogs can panic when you leave, causing them to become destructive and damage your home, they can also bark and howl. So, we would implore owners to be mindful of this now, when there are simple steps you can take to avoid it. We are also worried that some people have rushed out and impulse bought puppies because they knew they would be at home for a few weeks. However, they may not have the time to commit to them when they return to work.”
It sounds like a bit of tough love is in order-- but it will be just as tough for the owners.