If you’ve had to stay at home recently, due to COVID-19 exposure or a positive test result, you know that the struggle to self-quarantine is not easy. A pet at home during this time can offer incredible support, entertainment and companionship, but it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. 

There was likely a learning curve to spending so much time together. Perhaps you didn’t realize it at the time but you probably learned some important life lessons from your pet. 

The Space-Time Challenge

Any changes to a pet’s normal routine can be deeply upsetting in many ways. If you stopped leaving the house all of a sudden, it’s more than likely that they wondered what’s going on. Not to say that they wanted you to leave, but if that’s what they were previously used to it’s a normal expectation.

Odd Behaviors in Pets

An uptick in odd behaviors have been seen among pets in quarantine situations at home. Trouble sleeping or getting comfortable, listlessness, appetite loss, increased barking or pacing, and other worrisome behaviors have surprised countless owners in quarantine. 

Enriching a pet’s environment and adding structure to their new routine are excellent ways to defend against unrest. You can probably relate, but when your pet has something to “do” they are much more content. 

Life Lessons From Your Pet

Self-quarantining isn’t any fun at all, but pets have a positive impact on our outlook. In fact, companion animals have kept many of us sane during this stressful time of social distancing. Perhaps you learned some of these life lessons from your pet at some point in the last 6 months:

  1. It’s fun to have fun. Your pet is an expert at enjoying life. For any reason, at any time, they are well-versed in all the possible ways of living it up. This may be the “zoomies” at 3 am, or snuffling the area rug all day long. Either way, your pet has shown you that it’s good to enjoy life, especially during hard times.
  2. Responding in kind. Pets are highly intuitive and can sense when their owner needs some close time. They can also sense when you need space. Hopefully you were able to show them the same courtesy, as this is one of the best of life lessons from your pet.
  3. No plans. You may have Zoom meetings lined up all day. Your pet doesn’t know that and, what’s more, they really don’t care! This is an incredibly useful approach to life. Sure, we can all make plans, but it’s better to be flexible. Plus, who doesn’t love a Zoom meeting that is crashed by a cute pup or kitty!
  4. It’s the small things. Have you noticed that it really doesn’t take a lot to make your pet happy? It’s really the small things in life, like sitting on a warm, open laptop, that make it all worth it. 
  5. Live in the Present. As far as we know, pets aren’t hung up on their pasts, like we are. They don’t have regrets, feel guilt about missed opportunities, or long for a time that is not the ever-present now. Of all the life lessons from your pet, this may be the most important.

This year has inspired most of us to dig pretty deep for courage, optimism, and acceptance. Thankfully, our pets continue to teach us new things every day.