Pandemic and Pups: A New Lexicon

In an attempt to be “flat curvers” (not to be confused with “flat earthers”), we are practicing self-isolation. Although our movement hasn’t been completely restricted, we’ve basically confined ourselves to our home except for excursions to the grocery store and checking to see if cleaning supplies have been restocked anywhere.

One of our recent life changes that makes it easier to be a homebody is we became pup-parents again in early March. We have adopted older basset hounds for 20 years. After the passing of Ziggy, we waited six months before letting Basset Rescue of Puget Sound know we were ready to welcome another bonded pair. Bella and Eddie (don’t judge us!) are our seventh and eighth dogs. They are also our first younger ones, at 2 and 3 years old. Like our other bassets, they are sweet and adorable. Unlike our other bassets, they have the same energy and house manners as puppies – except they are bigger and have greater stamina. I am both elated and exhausted.

Meet Eddie. He is a 3-year-old tri-colored basset. So far, his greatest joys are sitting as close to you as he can get, running at a full sprint around the house, and going for NC-17 ratings while playing with Bella.

Eddie between Hubby and Niece


Meet Bella. Bella is a just-turned-2-on-March-9 basset/golden retriever mix. At least that’s our best guess. She has the long ears and short legs of a basset, and is the color and size of a golden retriever. She is a BIG GIRL. She is also curious, smart, easily bored, and a chewer.

Bella’s ear is her Plan B chew toy

Our first two weeks with them have coincided with the new emergency measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. What a welcome distraction they have been! It’s easy to forget about “When am I ever going to get my hair cut again?!” when you’re preoccupied with where your pups are and what they’re destroy–I mean, doing. We are learning so much about how to live together. Since I’m spending a lot of “quality time” at home with the pups, I’ve had time to reflect on how many phrases from the current pandemic apply to our daily life with Eddie and Bella. For example:

Sheltering in place. Bassets sleep for most of the day. Ours are great companions from about 8:30 pm – 2:00 pm. They sleep overnight, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and “me” time outside, then nap until mid-afternoon. That’s when the “witching hour” falls, the big one arises, she gets bored and generalized chewing and mayhem ensue. (At least she’s on a predictable schedule.)

Social distancing. This one again is mostly Bella, since Eddie can’t even tolerate being separated from his humans by a bathroom door for two minutes. (“OK, you can come in. But sit over there!”) Bella typically exhibits solitary behavior when she wants to chew a bone (or misappropriated household item) or escape Eddie’s playing overtures.

Self-isolation. (See also sheltering in place.) Now that hubby is also telecommuting, I can sometimes decamp upstairs during the rowdiest parts of the day. This term is not to be confused with “lockdown“, which is a more drastic measure imposed by us on our angel babies/holy terrors (“tear-ers”) by relegating them to a time-out in the utility room.

Hand washing. When don’t we wash our hands? Washing every time after touching the pups (“My slipper isn’t a chew toy – especially when I’m wearing it!) or their toys (“Why don’t you play with this toy I bought especially for you?) or non-toys they have chewed into oblivion (“What do you have? Where did you get that? Drop it!”) must mean our hands are practically germ-free.

Rigorous cleaning. As we transition into spring, mixed-breed Bella is “blowing coat.” We’ve co-existed with dog hair for decades, but watching indoor tumbleweeds is a new experience. In addition to disinfecting doorknobs, light switches, and other oft-touched surfaces, we’ve also amped up our vacuuming. Yay. Bonus: Vacuuming during the witching hour keeps them focused on the evil-thing-that-makes-noise rather than trolling for household munchables.

Singing to/with the neighbors. You have most likely seen the video clips from Italy where neighbors gather in the evening on their respective balconies to play music and sing together. Our version is letting the dogs out into the yard where they serenade the local folk – from birds to squirrels to walkers of well-behaved dogs. Thank goodness our two closest neighbors are hard of hearing.

Flatten the curve. Until she is fully trained, Bella is going to chew our stuff. We just have to accept that. When you have a curious jumper and chewer with an extended reach of several feet, you eventually realize that Bella-houseproofing measures will reduce – but not eliminate – your losses. 

Bella and Eddie - before the "witching hour"

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