dog run
Stone poses with his cocker spaniel, Harley, after the two went for a run around Portage, Indiana.

Students PetWork from Home Amid Ruff Times

Ryan Daine

Most pet owners are familiar with the heartbreaking, relationship straining and emotionally taxing act of having to leave a furry friend alone in the house for more than about 15 minutes.

As the minutes seem to turn into hours, dogs may retire to the floor, defeated and hopeless, lying in a heap of misery, knowing their owner is likely never to return. Cats may seek out couches and windowsills, worrying only for the return of the human who tops off their food and water bowls. Fish swim around, blissfully unaware their caretakers have even departed, let alone for how long.

However, with students at home this spring, pets are enjoying an unexpected steady supply of company.

First-year student and football player Tyler Stone has let his four-legged pal, Harley, a gentle and loving black cocker spaniel, accompany him on his occasional runs throughout his neighborhood. “When I have to do some distance running as part of the home-training program for football, I’ll sometimes put Harley on a leash and let him come along,” Stone said.

Allowing furry friends to tag along while exercising helps to make the workout a little more enjoyable, and allows them to get outside and get their cardio in too, something that’s extremely important for everyone, pets included, during these times where a sedentary lifestyle is easy to develop and take hold.

Carson Thompson, a sophomore, often finds his pitbull, Kali, right underneath his feet while completing his online work every day. “Now that I’ve gotten into my new routine, Kali knows when work is about to begin,” Thompson said. “It’s like being back in high school, with her knowing when everyone would be about to leave; only now, we all stay.”

He continued: “Kali will lie down right beside my desk chair and doze off while I complete my assignments and attend class. She’s quiet, but it’s a really nice feeling to have her right there beside me nearly every day.”

Fully grown Labrador dogs are known to need a lot of free space to roam around and exercise within. For First-Year student Kyle Butler, quarantine has provided him a novel opportunity to spend plenty of time outside with his chocolate and silver labs, Goose and Woody. “When I’m done with classwork for the day and it’s nice outside, I usually have time to play fetch and run around with my dogs in my backyard,” Butler said. “It’s actually been a lot of fun. I didn’t usually have a ton of time to play outside with my dogs, but on days where I can get done with classes by one in the afternoon, I suddenly have time to spend with them.”

Fish to ferrets, canines to cats, guinea pigs to gerbils, whatever pet resides in one’s own home, no question needs to be asked as to whether or not they themselves are enjoying quarantine to the fullest. Amid these difficult times, one aspect of life that always remains unwaveringly positive and peaceful is the love received from a pet. And now, we as a nation seem to have all of the time in the world to spend with our Animalia companions.