This article appeared in the April 10, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Love (of pets) in a time of coronavirus

Eric Albrecht/Dispatch/The Columbus Dispatch/AP
Jeff Good works on his phone while relaxing in his hammock at Goodale Park in Columbus, Ohio, for an hour or so as a break from his house. Mr. Good, who works for a software company, has come to the park several times to do this and brings dogs Brooks and Tommy along.
Peter Grier
Washington editor

Today’s stories include a look at how governors have stepped up during the crisis, how Britain’s pandemic battle is stirring a nation of volunteers, the effect on protest movements around the world, a survey of how small businesses on one Massachusetts street are tightening belts to survive, and a Good Friday essay on how a pastor of a 400-year-old church has learned new ways to minister.

Two weeks ago in this space I wrote about Chester, a foster beagle my family was about to take in to help him and us through the trials of sheltering in place. Chester sparked a lot of audience response, and so I’m happy to report today that he has fit right in to our menagerie. At this very moment he is patrolling the backyard with lead beagle Lucy, defending his new home against adversaries, real and imagined. 

His bark ends in a kind of howl. He sleeps on one of my sons’ beds. He leans against your legs when he wants to be petted.

Animals are soothing in trying circumstances. In mid-March, after we all started working from home, a Monitor staffer created an internal Slack channel labeled “pets.” Staffers can swap pictures and comments about their cats, dogs, and in at least one case, their hedgehog. Looking at others’ pets seems to foster a bit of togetherness.

And simple pleasures like that remain important in this serious time. Cat videos, for instance, may seem trivial, but they bring joy that cannot be denied. Even Werner Herzog, famed German film director and author, says he feels “rejuvenated” after watching them. 

That brings us to the closing point: Have you watched the dog videos narrated by BBC sportscaster Andrew Cotter? Where, deadpan, he describes – invents really – eating and chew bone competitions between his Labradors? If you haven’t you must. They are A1 shut-in entertainment. Chester is a huge fan.

This article appeared in the April 10, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 04/10 edition
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