National Pet Day: Pawspresence is pleasant

Anugraha Rao
Saturday, 11 April 2020

Pet parents tell us how their four-legged kids are helping them stay happier during the quarantine.

Pets have always been considered therapeutic and a strong support system to fight anxiety, stress, depression and loneliness. During quarantine, many of us are feeling trapped. At this point, if you are a pet owner, consider it a blessing. A few people share how their furry friends are helping them stay sane.

A finance consultant by profession, Ekta Sharma, 28, has an 11-month-old German Shepherd named Simba at home. Since her profession gives her the flexibility to work from home, Simba is used to seeing her at home. However, when her husband, a regular office goer got quarantined, Simba was overjoyed with the extra presence around the house.

“Despite the lockdown, we have to take him out for a walk. We cannot restrain him in the house only,” says Sharma. She lives in a cantonment area where outsiders are not allowed, making it a safer place to get out in need of an emergency.

“She makes sure that Simba’s paws and fur are disinfected before they step inside the house after the walk. “We have Dettol, paw creams, and we groom him regularly so that he doesn’t carry any infection,” she says.

Staying in together comes with a lot of handy and quality time. “We have spent a lot of time playing hide and seek inside the house,” says Sharma.

Having a pet around becomes helpful when you do not get to meet other people in person. “It is de-stressing just to look at them. They take your mind away from a lot of things that you tend to overanalyse. You learn to live in the moment, you become happy and appreciate whatever you have,” says she.

Simba makes his parents lively. Sharma says that it doesn’t matter if it’s lockdown or not; she just can’t imagine her life without him.

Fifty-two-year-old businessman Debmalya Mitra has two pets -- a miniature Dachshund (Feetoo) and a Cocker Spaniel (Bambi). Just like every other dog, these two are also extremely excited seeing their entire family staying at home.

“From the pet’s perspective, they are really happy, and for us, their happiness is a stress-buster. We are walking them and personally grooming them as we cannot take them to a spa. This way, they are getting a lot of attention, and we are getting to use our time more productively as well,” says Mitra.

According to him, having a pet by your side in a difficult situation is the best thing. They are absolutely true to their heart. Their unconditional love can help people forget all their difficulties.

Mitra walks his pets in the society compound and disinfects their paws every time they return home. “Just the way we wash our hands, we help them wash their paws with mild liquid soap and water,” he says, adding, “I’ve been living with a pet for a very long time, and it is hard to imagine a life without them.”

He recently adopted Feetoo from an elderly person who is not able to take care of him. Mitra feels extremely lucky about being able to help someone and to become a father of two.

Following the adoption, Mitra on his Facebook page wrote that ‘the lockdown is going to be even more fun for us’.

Tanaya Mishra, 32, a PR professional has two pets. A labrador retriever (Ginger) and a white retriever (Cookie). She used to give treats to her pets once she came back from work. However, nowadays the pets get surprise treats which cheers them up.

“In the presence of people around them, they’ve become active,” she points out.

She walks her dogs which is also strengthening the bond they share. “As the roads are empty, and the gardens inside the housing societies less busy, we get to play a lot. We play fetch or simply just run around,” she says.

Many pets have a leisure time with their parents, and at times they are not allowing them to work. Mishra’s pets are no less. Cookie, the younger one, demands a lot of attention. She keeps barking unless Mishra pets her.

But she is not complaining. “You are continuously listening to the news of people dying every day, which is quite depressing. However, when you see your pets, they might not talk to you but they offer companionship which no human can. Ginger is the elder one and very sharp in understanding people’s emotions. Hence, whenever I need emotional support, Ginger is always there. The connection is so pure. For me, they are next to God,” says Mishra.

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