Each morning, I am woken up around seven by nine pounds of Havanese fluff standing on my chest and yowling until I dare acknowledge her presence. It is a fool’s move to acknowledge her, I know it is, because once I move, I become her prisoner.
My beloved pooch, Allen Bader Ginsberg, who is somehow a female dog with that monstrosity of a name, is a spoiled brat. Yet my mother is quite proud of that because, to her, “Allen deserves everything.” And in that “everything”, all Allen wants is people inside the house. Since my sister and I were off at college, my dog often sits around in the afternoon, waiting until my mom comes home. But now that my sister and I have been forced to move off our respective campuses and my mom is also working from home due to the Coronavirus, people are in the house at every moment for Allen.
From a human perspective, this is miserable. There are too many bodies and we are all about to kill one another. However, for my dog, this is paradise. She spends all day with us and we are all forced to adore her. And now, she expects this attention at every moment. The Coronavirus has made a stuck-up asshole out of my dog.
And the worst part about it? My dog doesn’t even know that the Coronavirus exists.
I might even be bold enough to say that my dog loves the Coronavirus. And I don’t blame her for it.
I now go to the dog park twice a day to walk Allen; she never went twice a day before this, except the rare occasions in the summer when it is just too nice outside to not take her out.
The dog park is her favorite place for obvious reasons. As a beastly ball of floof, she can run after other hyperactive beasts and is told by every single person in the park how cute she is. It’s undeniable that she is the cutest dog at ANY dog park by far. Allen likes to ignore commands, but she is keenly aware of what “cute dog” means and will let you know that by laying on her stomach and demanding a belly rub anywhere and everywhere.
Despite the sheer assholery of my dog, the dog park has become my now personal haven away from the Coronavirus fear. It’s a good way to go outside, as the people sit two, three benches over from one another and watch their dogs run after tattered balls. It’s cathartic to the point that I’d rather freeze on a park bench than go home.
I think I even have the best conversations at the dog park. No one talks about Coronavirus — no one talks about anything but dogs. Conversation remains light, and for a moment, just a moment I can pretend my school break is just any other normal vacation.
But the moment Allen and I have to leave, it hits me all at once — this is no normal vacation, this is a pandemic. It might be selfish, but most moments I wish I was like my dog and didn’t realize the Coronavirus exists. I just wish I had a small sliver of my life that could stay away from COVID-19. But that is just the nature of a pandemic, it consumes your whole life. It consumes the whole world.
And it is exhausting. Everyone is exhausted, and we are only at the beginning. Yet still, every day I throw on my boots and head to Washington Square Park because my dog needs to go to the dog park.
It’s strange to think that dogs can sense feelings in people, yet they can’t sense that the entire world around them is changing, and not for the better. I’m sure that my dog believes the Coronavirus is the greatest thing to ever grace this Earth because it brought our family together. It’s funny to think that for the first time in months, my entire family is together under one roof, and I resent it because of this pandemic.
Everything, I’ve realized, has come down to circumstance. I would have cherished this time six months ago. But in the midst of a pandemic, all I want to do is have this period in history be over with because then, that means the Coronavirus is no longer a threat.