I’m recording this on May 22, but it pertains to March 27, nearly two months ago, when I made the actual entry. My human has been a little slow getting this together.
In February, I heard my humans talk about a virus. I didn’t understand the word when I first heard it. My vocabulary with words that begin with V is limited. Vanish, victory, villain, vamos (I sometimes hear Spanish). I figured it might be a name.
Then one day in early March, I noticed how empty our city dog park was. It was me and two other dogs, my humans and two other humans. And while I chased my ball and the Frisbee, I overheard the humans talking about virus and numbers. Lots of numbers. And which states and countries had the most cases.
And I figured out that virus is an invisible enemy. It travels from person to person unless they’re separated by at least six feet, which these humans were doing. Virus apparently doesn’t have a scent. It’s not like squirrel, a word we dogs know well. Squirrel has a distinct smell – not pleasant, but enticing, exciting, you imagine what if I catch that squirrel?
I also notice that no other dogs come over to play these days. It’s just me and the cats, who enjoy going outside now because the weather is no beautiful. I love them, but they aren’t much fun. So I bug my humans to play with me. I drop Frisbees and balls in their offices and since I know when it’s time to go to the dog park, I go into their offices and start panting really hard.
Two days ago when we went to the city dog park, I had the place to myself. It’s a weird feeling, all this space to run after balls and Frisbees, but no dogs. No squirrels, either. The humans sat at the picnic table in the shade and played with their phones. I kept dropping the ball or the Frisbee under the picnic table so they’d have to put down their phones to retrieve my toy and toss it.
I was doing that on the way into the park, too, dropping my ball, then stopping and waiting for one of the humans to pick it up. A woman who was leaving with two dogs, sort of chuckled and said, “He’s waiting for his managers to pick it up.”
The humans thought about that comment and now when I drop a ball or Frisbee, they point at it and tell me to pick it up. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Depends on my mood.
I’m a Gemini, you know, born on June 14 or 16, the humans aren’t sure which since I was a rescue. But I gather from the female human that it means I have two sides. The Happy Nigel and The Please Don’t Bother Me Nigel. I dislike confrontation and conflict and I’m sensing more of it around me now. I hear it in the barking of dogs in the neighborhood late at night, in the way my cat buddies don’t mind being brought in after dark, in the behavior of frogs, insects, birds. I hear fewer cars. And, oh yeah, the city dog park closed indefinitely.
So now in the evenings the humans hop on their bikes and the three of us race through the neighborhood to the park at the end of neighborhood. It’s probably five acres big, great for chasing balls and Frisbees, and in the evening, it’s just about perfect. Cool in the shade.
One evening, there were two other dogs that I sniffed and checked out, but their lives seemed pretty boring and I went back to chasing balls. Now, it’s pretty much me and my two humans.
The park is next to a school. When I was a pup, I remember racing down here with Noah and Nika and the three of us would pause at the back fence, watching the kids on the playground. Noah is still here with me some days in his ghostie form and Nika’s last visit lasted about a month. That was great! I had a dog buddy. Do I want a permanent dog buddy? I don’t know.
Right now, for tonight, I’m sharing the family room couch with my cat buddies. The three of us distract our humans from virus. For now, it’s enough. (Nala is the black shape at the end of the couch ). We’re discussing virus distractions.
P.S. It’s now May 22. The dog park is open! Nika is visiting again! I hope this means that life is slowly returning to normal.