Pets and Social Distancing

We all love our fur babies. Well, most of us. I suppose there are still people around like WC Fields, about whom screenwriter Leo Rosten once said, “Any man who hates dogs and babies can’t be all bad.” I just don’t know any.

Our boy Harvey can’t hold his licker.

Just about everyone I know falls at the other end of the spectrum. At Hearts Homes and Hands, we love our animals. Most of us have more pets at home than people. in fact, two members of our team are on the Board of Directors for Milam Touch of Love, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the welfare of animals in Milam County. Others have contributed to or done volunteer work for that organization.

If you use the term “fur babies” (it too me a long time to get used to it. But then I realized I call Carlton “Baby Boy” and Penny “Baby Girl”), sigh…anyway—if you use the term “fur babies,” you probably have experienced their delicate, little (or big, sloppy) kisses—whether you wanted to or not.

And that brings me to Winston, who made national news a couple of days before I wrote this article. Winston is a pug who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his family of four humans. The two adults are both doctors, but all four are COVID survivors.

And no, we don’t usually dress our boy Vlassic up in little outfits.

One day, Doctor Mom noticed Winston’s behavior was a little off. He even skipped breakfast. No pug I have ever known willingly skips a meal unless something is very wrong. So, Doctor Mom had Winston tested. Sure enough, he was positive for COVID-19.

Winston is the first American dog to test positive and the first confirmed case of human-canine transmission. We already knew that cats, including lions and tigers and—well, not bears—at the NY Zoo could get COVID. But Dr. Anthony Fauchi, the face of the Administration’s COVID Response Team, said there is “no evidence” of pets giving the virus to their people. That’s good. Just try putting a mask on a cat. Neither one of you will have a good result.

Penney loves to cuddle, but I am trying to be more careful about keeping her tongue out of my face. Next, I’ll work on the feet.

But Fauchi didn’t rule out the possibility of pet-human transmission. All “no evidence” means is that we haven’t proven that it happens.

All this is to say our pets need to practice social distancing as much as we do. Right now, it’s a good idea to keep your indoor pets inside and your outdoor pets away from others. And avoiding those fur baby kisses can help protect both of you.