We don't usually share fiction on our blog but in this time of COVID we thought we'd imagine what social distancing must feel like for our furry friends. -PuppySpot
Bailey began her day like she does every day, by thundering down the hall to her parents room and planting a big doggy kiss on their faces. They weren't yet out of bed but she knew that it was her job to walk them every morning and she took her job very seriously. It took some encouragement but she eventually convinced her mom and dad to get out of bed and start their day. "C'mon! C'mon" She barked ''It's walk time." She bounded to the front door and happily snatched up her leash from where it hung on the door knob.
"You know that leash is to keep you from running off." Said Lloyd the big orange tabby cat from high up on the book shelf.
"Na uh." Said Bailey, "It's so mom and dad don't get lost when I take them for a walk. They need me to find their way."
"Whatever makes you happy, friend."
"Do you want to come with me?" Said Bailey. "That would make me happy."
"Anything but that." Said Lloyd with a contemptuous flick of his tail.
"Your loss." Said Bailey, "Morning walks are my favorite. All the humans are in their kitchens cooking bacon and I get to smell it when I walk by. It smells so good. Then we get to run through the park where my favorite tree lives."
"Is that the tree with the squirrels?" said Lloyd. Bailey let out a loud bark. "Hey. We do not speak of the enemy in this home, Mr. Lloyd."
"Oh. How could I have forgotten." Said Lloyd. "Look sharp soldier, YOUR owners are here." Bailey greeted them with an excited bark. "Oh boy. Oh boy. Here we go."
"Are you ready to go outside girl?" said mom.
"Bark! Bark!" Her owner opened the door and Bailey led her outside aiming for the sidewalk. She led her mom to her favorite spots all throughout the neighborhood. She even barked at a few squirrels to show them who's boss. It wasn't until they were nearly done with their normal route when Bailey realized something strange.
"Huh." said Bailey. "Where is everybody?" She looked around realizing that the neighborhood was entirely empty. She hadn't smelled another dog or their person all day. All the stores were closed. Even Mr. Gregory, the butcher who gives her doggy treats when they stop by, wasn't in his shop.
"Did the other dogs forget that it's walk time?" she thought. They were about to turn down their street to head back home when she saw Gabe, the Great Dane. "Hey Bailey." He said from across the street in his deep bark, "Where is everybody?"
"I don't know." Said Bailey. "You're the only dog I've seen. Hey, do you want to play?" Bailey tried to greet Gabe but felt a tug on her lead. Instead of letting her play with Gabe like she normally does, her mom held firm to her leash. "Hold on, girl. We need to keep our distance."
"Hi Catie." said Gabe's mom.
"Hey Margaret" Said Bailey's mom. "How are you guys holding up?
"Just fine." Said Gabe's mom "It's weird getting used to this whole social distancing thing. I don't like chatting with you from this far away."
"Yeah." Said Bailey's mom. "But we have to stay at least 6 feet apart until this whole COVID thing is over."
Bailey let out an eager bark. "Hey Gabe do you know what they're talking about. Why isn't mom letting me play with you?"
"I don't know, Bailey." Said Gabe with a tug on his leash.
"Sorry Boy." We have to do our part too." Said Gabe's mom. "Are you working from home too, Catie."
"Yup." Said Bailey's mom. "It's ok though, I get to spend more time with my best friend Bailey here." Bailey felt her tail wag. She loved being her mom's best friend.
"Okay, Catie. Stay safe" said Gabe's mom. "Come on, boy. Let's go home." Bailey said goodbye to Gabe with a cheerful bark and turned to lead her mom back home.
Later that day, Bailey and Lloyd were sitting together in front of their favorite sunny window. "Hey Lloyd." said Bailey
"What's social distancing?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Well," said Bailey, "mom wouldn't let me play with Gabe today because social distancing. Then she didn't go to the human place like she normally does." she said. "You know, the other place they go to that they don't let us come with."
"The human place is called work," said Lloyd, "and neither one of them has been there in a week."
"Because the man on the TV told them not to."
"Why are mom and dad listening to a man in a TV?"
"Because he tells them what to do to stay safe." Bailey let out an anxious bark.
"Safe!" she said. "I keep them safe. What do they need to be safe from?"
"Calm down." Said Lloyd. "As long as they stay inside they won't catch the Coronavirus."
"It's the reason mom and dad have been home all week and why you've been going on so many walks."
"Really?" Said Bailey, "Then I love the Coronavirus. Hey!" she said excited, "Does the Coronavirus want to come with us to the dog park? We always go on Saturdays."
"No Bailey." Said Lloyd, "mom and dad can't take you to the dog park because they might get sick. And when they take you on walks, they need to stay far apart from other humans to make sure they don't get anyone else sick."
Bailey turned to Lloyd, shocked. "No more dog park?"
"Not for a little while." said Lloyd. "You'll have to make your own fun inside until then."
"Hey!" said Bailey. "You're an inside cat. What do you do to have fun inside?" Lloyd stretched in the warm light of the sun and closed his eyes.
"Pretty much just this."
"I don't want to nap all day, Lloyd."
"Will you help?"
"Help you do what?"
"Will you help me have fun inside?
"You don't need my help to have fun inside." said Lloyd. "Just take one of your toys over to dad and put it in his lap like you always do. Show him those puppy eyes and he'll play with you."
"I tried that already. He said that he was working."
"Did you try mom?"
"Yeah but she said the same thing." Said Bailey.
Lloyd sighed. "If I help you get their attention, will you leave me alone to lounge in this sunny window." Bailey barked.
"Fine." Said Lloyd. "I will help you get mom and dad's attention but then you gotta leave me alone." Bailey barked again and the pair padded off to the living room. There they found their parents still typing away on their computers.
"See." she said, "They're busy."
"You just haven't tried hard enough." said Lloyd. "Watch this." Lloyd pounced on to his dad's lap. To his great surprise, his dad gently moved him off his lap and kept typing away. Lloyd padded back over to Bailey.
"What was that?" said Bailey.
Lloyd shot her a look, annoyed. "I'm just getting warmed up." Then he strode over to mom and rubbed up against her legs like he always does, purring away like a little motor boat. But mom just reached down for a few pets then went right back to work. Dumbfounded, Lloyd padded back over to Bailey and sat.
"I don't say this a lot, Bailey, but you're right." Said Lloyd. "They don't want to play."
"What are we going to do?" asked Bailey.
"I don't know." said Lloyd.
Bailey looked at him, shocked. "But you know everything."
"That's true." Said Lloyd, "But no one has ever been able to resist my charms before. We'll have to try a different approach. Do that thing you do when you run around the house like you're on a race track." Bailey needed no more encouragement than that. She took off at a full run, darting from room to room like she was chasing a rabbit.
After several laps of showing off her moves, she returned to the living room to find her parents in the same state as they were before, typing on their computers and totally engulfed in what they were doing. "It didn't work." Panted Bailey. "You try something."
"Okay." Said Lloyd with conviction. "Time to break out the big guns." With that he strode into the middle of the room where his mom and dad could both see him. Then he flopped on his back and started licking his paw.
"What are you doing?" Said Bailey.
"They love it when I do this." Said Lloyd between licks, "They always go 'aaah' and pull out their phones to snap pictures when I roll around."
"They aren't doing anything," said Bailey.
"Huh." Said Lloyd, surprised. "That usually works. Your turn."
"Okay." Said Bailey, rising to the challenge. "Watch this." Then she padded over to the coffee table, where she snatched up the TV remote in her jaws. The TV got suddenly louder and louder and louder until the news announcer was practically ringing off the walls of the home.
"Sad news out of Washington today. As the Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on our medical system, our economy and the way we live our lives we at your local news station remind you to keep distance from others, wash your hands and stay at home until the outbreak passes. We turn to Cindy in California for an update on....
Mom reached over and turned the TV off. Just then dad shut his laptop and rubbed his forehead the way he does when he has a headache.
"What's the matter, hun?" Said mom, a worried expression on her face.
"It's this whole Coronavirus thing." said dad, "People are scared. They don't know what to do. They are used to going outside and interacting with people. This quarantine stuff has everyone spooked. "
"All they need to do is stay inside and be kind to one another." Said mom. "We're all in this together."
Dad let out an exasperated sigh. "I know. It's just. People need a way to relax. Something wholesome to take their minds off this whole mess while at home."
"Hey Lloyd." Said Bailey, "I think I have an idea." She walked over to dad, licked his hand and plopped her big shaggy head in his lap. He smiled and let out a short laugh.
"I'm just glad we have a big shaggy dog to brighten our spirits." He said. He glanced over Bailey's shoulder at Lloyd. "You to your highness."
"Hey Bailey." Said Lloyd, "I think it's working. Keep it up." Bailey let out an excited bark and crouched with her tail wagging in the air.
"Do you want to play, girl?" Said dad.
"Bark! Bark! Bark!"
Dad smiled, got up and made his way to the basket full of dog toys in the corner. He grabbed a chew toy and tossed it in the air. Bailey leaped up off the couch and caught the toy in midair. Now dad was smiling broadly. "I guess we can always count on Bailey to make us feel better." He reached for the leash on the door.
"Where are you going?" asked mom.
"You know." said dad "I think I'm going to take Bailey here for a long walk around the block."
"That's the third one she's been on today." said mom.
"Yeah, I know, but I think a walk with my puppy-dog will help keep me sane. Something about her smiling face gives me hope that this whole thing is going to be ok. Besides, Bailey doesn't mind, do you girl." Bailey barked excitedly.
"Did you hear that, Lloyd?" said Bailey. "I get to go on another walk." But Lloyd didn't answer her. He was already asleep, lounging in their favorite sunny window.