I've written so often about my old cat Betsy and the now long-departed Little Boy who so terrorised her but was such a dear companion for me. Little Boy was the one who used to wait for me at the bottom of the stairs at night, like a worried parent, greet me with his usual loud howling, and then walk up with me, all the while telling me about his day and telling me off for being so late home.
"He waits for you because you are his food source," a friend once said, and while that may be true, I like to think that he missed me and was overjoyed to see me again.
So many people are walking dogs during this lock down period. I've never seen half of them of these furry buddies and wonder where they are during 'normal' times. Perhaps they get walked after dark, or early in the morning, but they are all enjoying the extra attention now.
Pets give us routine: they need to be fed at certain times, and cared for - walked and groomed and given flea treatments, their bedding cleaned, taken to the vet if need be. Right now, canine pets are also offering us the exercise opportunities we need. 'Take me for a walk! Several in fact!'
Such need is good during this time when days lack structure and we must tend to the wants of someone other than ourselves, a small creature who is dependent upon us for its food and shelter. Doesn't matter if it's an Irish wolfhound or a budgie, our pets give us responsibilities.
And they are a comfort too. Most evenings Betsy-cat and I settle in to watch TV or read a book and sometimes she will get up from her soft blanket on the couch, walk over the small table beside my chair and nudge my arm, simply wanting a pat and some kindness. Then she'll go back to her bed and go to sleep.
During these times of isolation, a pet can be a sweet companion, sitting with you while you read, talk on the phone, or do your work, a friend who will not judge or think ill of you when tears of loneliness come or anger born of frustration bubbles up. They share the good and the bad times, enjoy most everything and take as much delight as you do in the feel of sun on skin, water on bare feet, and wind in hair.