When we initially got our puppy, we were given two conflicting directives:
#1- Socialize your puppy during her formative first months lest she turn into an insecure barker and biter.
#2- Don’t allow your puppy near ANY other dogs (or dog poop) until fully immunized lest she get one of the dreaded dog diseases and die.
After a few weeks of high anxiety, dutifully dodging every canine we passed on our walks and restricting our little dog from sniffing any grass other than our own lawn…I finally (with the guidance of our vet and dog trainer) reassessed the risk/rewards and selectively allowed our puppy to interact with other people’s pets. Was there some risk involved?..sure there was.. but we felt we were taking a realistic, balanced approach.
Today we have a well adjusted, happy and confident 2 yr old dog.
What I came to realize was that while the period of heightened danger to our dog’s health would not last forever, the consequences of the decisions made during that timeframe could. Keeping my dog “quarantined” from other dogs during those critical formative months could have created a lifetime of personality problems.
Which brings me to this period we are in right now- coming out of the Corona lock-down. In some ways it’s not much different than the situation with our new puppy.. Stay home or get sick makes about as much sense for me as it did for our dog. There’s a ton of space between those two extremes and with a little extra thought and appropriate precautions, that space can be successfully navigated.
Sadly, I am already starting to see the toll this “re-entry” phase is taking on families and friendships and some people’s general sense of emotional well-being. Disagreements abound as individuals make their own risk/reward assessments. Anger, judgement, impatience and fear are palpable. Parents, kids, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors are all fighting for control over their lives.. and sometimes control over others’ lives as well.
As you navigate through this time just remember, the pandemic period will not last forever, but the fall-out from your behavior just might. What good is it to emerge from this crisis with our health in tact but our lives and relationships in shambles?