Released On 25th Feb 2021
Caroline M's blog: Pet therapy
A year ago, our beautiful Poppy cat had to be put to sleep. She was my baby before I had babies. Everybody in my circle, from colleagues, to family and friends, was invested in her, having been treated to daily pictures of her from 8 weeks old. She was somewhat of a phenomenon. And above all else she really was part of the family.
The whole experience felt quite traumatic. Tears flowed for two weeks, during which time my husband planted the seed of getting a puppy. As much as I loved that cat, she was astoundingly unwelcoming to anyone, or anything. Part of the pitch was that our girls were at a great age to integrate a puppy to our household.
Then lockdown came. And we fell into the camp of the owners of a lockdown puppy.
And why devote a work & family related blog to a puppy? Because On balance*, and I say that quite loosely, he has been our sanity saver through these lockdowns and tiers. * The On balance calculation has involved exponential smoothing, weighting more recent periods much more heavily, and assigning little or no weight to the first three months.
An avid follower of Marie Kondo, he firmly believes in only keeping possessions which bring him joy, purging everyone else’s stuff through chewing. He single-handedly has decluttered our house.
Freddie has forced me out of the hamster wheel that you can fall into when working from the same premises you call your home. His demands for walks reset me and remind me there is life outside of our house. During that brief time where my children were in nursery or school, he was my colleague - much fussier than any other colleague, but my tangible company throughout the day.
He has guaranteed that my husband comes home in the evening to at least one very warm welcome that is neither overwrought nor whingey.
As I write this, we are in a wave of home-schooling our 5 year old. A small girl who will have spent more weeks of her education on our pink laptop, than she will have spent onsite in a school setting. He is her confidante, her pal that she whispers her thoughts and plots to. He is her worry doll and dreamcatcher all in one.
And for our smallest member of the house, He boosts her confidence, allowing her to truthfully say Freddie LUUURVES me. Missing out on playdates, or visitors calling to the house, Freddie has given her the chance to exercise her rites of bossing passage. Obeying her every command, we believe he sees her as his key ally.
Our distraction these last 12 months, I count him as one of my greater achievements. For all you hear of the stories of people not thinking through their lockdown pup, and it felt at times that we had not, he healed our hearts, and kept us aligned in what has been a most challenging time.
Caroline M is a Risk Analyst at an asset manager in the city working with 4 immensely supportive colleagues and friends. She and her husband have two wonderful girls, aged 5 and 2 and together all four try to manage their puppy.