Dogs help beat the lockdown blues

Guest writer Lucy Parks continues her occasional blog about how Cypriot rescue dog Yella has adjusted to life in the Chilterns

DOG owners have their walking habits – Yella gets a short walk in the morning, before work, to the poo bin at the top of the road and back, and a longer, off-lead walk in the afternoon – but everything changed during lockdown in 2020.

With fine weather, a huge change to routine and little else to do, we suddenly started meeting many, many more dog owners on our daily walks: neighbours that we’d never spoken to before, neighbours who we didn’t even know had a dog, new friends for Yella to meet out in the fields and woods. It really was a warm, friendly and, well, community-bonding experience.

I missed bumping into Alfie and his human dad in the alleyway at 6.30am every morning to exchange a few pleasantries but relished the lie-in that lockdown brought and the expansion of our dog social(ly-distanced, of course) group.

Yella’s new BFF is Arthur, whose lovely human owners were shielding but walking round and round our small estate every day for exercise. We’d wave out the window or stop for a short chat.

Everyone we met on our walks, whether they had dogs or not, just seemed happier, more friendly and yet mindful of the strange situation we found ourselves in and the rules we had to follow.

We kept an eye out for Maggie, the octogenarian who lives across the road with her 12-year-old rescue dog Hector, and made sure she was getting the support she needed. Yella tried to run around with Hector but, frankly, he’s an old boy who’s landed on his feet with Maggie and he was happy to just have a head-scratch.

Yes, there were awful things going on around the world, but Yella and I will always look back with fondest at that spring and summer as a happy time of long walks, long lie-ins and new friends.

Next time: Lucy’s top tips for happy dogs and happy owners

Lucy Parks lives in Amersham, in the glorious Chiltern Hills. She adopted Cypriot rescue Yella in July 2018, her first dog. A journalist by trade, Lucy left corporate life in 2018 and set up her business, Parkslife, as a freelance journalist and artist. She’s also a veterinary receptionist, allowing her to indulge in her love of animals. Click on these links to see her earlier posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

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