Post-Quarantine: Easing Back Into a Routine

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Hi humans! Marty Maraschino here. The other four-leggeds on my block are constantly barking at me for advice, so I’ve decided to take my knowledge to the Web. Welcome to Marty’s Musings, starring me, Marty Maraschino- knower of all things important and eater of all things delicious.

During this edition of my musings, I’d like to talk about readjusting to having an empty house after all of these months in lockdown. While it’s very exciting, it’s still a bit new and stressful, so I’m going to help you ease back into reclaiming your couches and quiet time.

Three of my four humans have been home since March. I mean home, all-the-time. Every day. The little one insists that I’m a princess and keeps putting these plastic tiaras on my head (so I ate one, but don’t tell her please- she’s little but she’s kind of scary). The boy is great- he always smells like goldfish crackers, and he just gives me treats all day. Mom has been super frantic, and she keeps accidentally bumping into me. I’m not sure how I’ve been here for three years and she still doesn’t understand that I will always be right behind her butt…but you know humans. It’s so hard to train them.

In any case, a few months ago I started to notice that the humans were leaving the house again. First it was just for walks (which I go on sometimes, but since I behave like a drunken eel on a leash they don’t always bring me). Then I noticed they were gone for a few hours. Then- and I have no idea what they were thinking, there is a whole pandemic out there, people!- they left for THE ENTIRE DAY. Humans say we four-leggeds can’t tell time but let me tell you something- I know when my people are gone for more than an episode of Teen Titans. And let me tell you something else- I don’t like it.

So I let them know.

I ate the boy’s bed.

My humans are smart- they know when I’m not happy- even when I don’t eat a hole the size of a birthday cake in a kid’s mattress. So they decided to bring out the crate to give me back my safe space while they were out. I like to think of it as my she-shed. When they leave I go in there with my treats and my bone, and I sort out my thoughts. Meditate a little bit. By the time we went through about a week of this, we were all a lot calmer. Especially Mom, because that’s when I finally stopped pooping memory foam all over the front yard.

Besides the crate, they make sure that they normalize leaving- they don’t make a big sappy deal out of it. No baby voices or googly eyes- I get a treat and a pat on the head. The end. They know I’m not one for dramatics.

And of course, when they get home we have our special walk time- I shoop and slide and wiggle up and down our block on my leash while Mom tries not to fall over and the kids giggle at my clearly fantastic eel-like antics. It’s our time, and it’s the same time every day, and having that consistency has really helped me stop stress-eating the furniture.

In closing, the most important things to teach your humans about leaving you again is to ease you into it, to normalize it, and above all, to give you lots of treats and maybe grill you a nice steak (I can’t guarantee they’re going to do that last one, but it’s worth a try).

Thank you for coming to my TED talk. And congratulations on reclaiming your alone time!

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