April 13, 2020 – Day fifteen of Shelter in Place:

Today felt like a bucket of cold water was doused on my head…another 2 weeks of lockdown. I had so hoped for at least a bit of easing up of the measures.

It reminded me of back when the kids were young and still spent every other weekend with their father. I would distribute my patience just so, to last me for the two weeks before it was his turn to pick them up and I could look forward to at least a weekend of quiet bliss. Then, at the last minute, right before he’s supposed to pick them up, he would sometimes call and cancel on me.

I felt like a balloon filled with air that is suddenly let go before the knot was tied. All the air gushes out of me and I spiral around and around in crazy circles until all the air is gone and I land on the floor with a thud, completely spent.

That’s how I felt again today when I heard we still can’t even leave the house to go for a walk outside. There are no words. I have no backup plan and wasn’t prepared for this news. I’m devastated.

Thankfully, my mother has also caught the ‘logbook writing bug’. She decided to fill in for me today. You can clearly see where I get my writing abilities from. Hopefully my mood will improve tomorrow, new day, new opportunities and all that. I leave you in good company…

Input by Martha Neuman (my mom):

From the perspective of our dog, a three-legged ‘Westpointer’ (stray) appropriately called Driepoot….

I truly don’t understand my humans; for almost 2 weeks or its equivalent in dog-years, I have noted a sudden and weird change in their daily behavior. They no longer wake up at the regular time and when they do, they no longer get out of the yard so I can sprint after their cars for a couple of hundred meters and get my daily exercise!

I have totally given up on them. Now I just hang around, nap on the front porch and for a bit of movement, I’ll sometimes scamper to the back porch and then nap some more. They have taken away my daily run but weirdly enough, I’ve noticed that most of the humans in my home are exercising daily as if there is no tomorrow. The one they call Tamara rides a stationary bike on the front porch (I can’t figure it out, the bike literally doesn’t go anywhere. I can’t chase it; what’s the fun in that?).

I’ve also seen her ride another bike, with fatter tires, in the front yard. She just kept going back and forth – I tried to chase her at first but there was no point because I was faster getting to the end of the yard; she ended up chasing me and that’s not what I signed up for so I stopped following her moves. The two younger looking humans; Alexine and Emyl I think they are called, although I’m not sure. It’s confusing to me because sometimes the one called Tamara calls them different things, Damn and Damnit I hear the most, but maybe it’s because of my sharp ears; she usually shouts when she uses those names. In any case they have also started a pattern of frantic exercise. Every…single…day. It’s exhausting just watching them, so naturally I take a nap while looking.

The two other inhabitants of my home, called either Papa and Mama or Abe and Lita, depending on who talks to them, are rather subdued and I don’t get to see much of them anymore. Thankfully Papa/Abe still feeds me every night, so I at least see him at dinner time (more importantly of course, is the fact that I get my dinner!).

What I really can’t understand is this new flurry of activity in the kitchen. I hear them discussing culinary terms and spy them preparing the most delicious smelling dishes, often for hours on end. But when all the cooking is done and the kitchen is cleaned, all ‘yours truly’ gets is his usual canine food. I mean, really? Come on humans, not even scraps? It’s an abomination!

Another thing; I thought I had this human talk down pat but for the past few weeks I’ve been hearing a lot of words I’ve never heard before that sound like Chinese to me. I really don’t understand what they mean, such as:

Quarantine: Is that what they are calling me know? They certainly use the name often enough…just when I got used to them calling me ‘Driepoot’.

Covid-19: Is that even a word? Perhaps a new brand of dog food? I hope not, if I’m not going to get any scraps, they can at least stick to my favorite brand of dog food that I’m used to. I’ll have to put my paw down on that one!

Outbreak: Come On peeps! When was the last time I actually broke out of the yard? You guys aren’t going anywhere for me to chase you remember?

Pandemic: I think this must be a kind of bread with no carbs.

Corona Virus: I think my humans are planning to adopt another dog, maybe a strange breed I’ve never heard of before. If that’s the case, I hope it is a male. Two bitches together in this crazy household would be disastrous to what is left of my peace of mind.

Isolation: I think this has to do with a lack of sunlight; they rarely leave the house anymore so they might be thinking of a device to bring more of the outside light inside the house.

Ventilator: This one I actually know but I mention it because it makes me wag my tail in excitement: it is a big fan they are going to install on the porch so I can enjoy my naps in a cool breeze.

Shelter in place: What? Are they thinking of turning our home into a shelter for stray dogs? Not on my watch! I’m willing to turn a blind eye for one extra dog, but a shelter full of strays, no way Hosey!

Social distancing: I’m pretty sure it is a new dance. That would explain the crazy back and forth movements of these humans lately.

Epidemiologist: (sometimes also called an Izzy) I don’t have a frigging idea what these words mean but I do know that at exactly 11:30 am each day, both names can be heard repeatedly on TV and my homies stay glued in front of this TV sometimes for over an hour. It must be a new series on Netflix…

There are more of these words, but I can’t remember them just now, my mind is getting a bit fuzzy, it’s almost time for dinner…where is Abe?

I truly wish everything would go back to normal, the silence outside is depressing. No cars honking in our neighborhood, no people walking and talking in the street or kids zooming by on their bikes for me to yap at, no scooters making their usual infernal sound trying to out-howl me, – there is literally not one reason for me to bark and show my homies that I am guarding our home. When this, whatever this is, is over, I will probably have forgotten how to bark.

I don’t even wiggle my tail anymore; there is no reason to (unless they are talking about the ventilator!).”

Driepoot posing between the flowers…

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