What Does Your Pet Really Think of You Working From Home?

It is no surprise that COVID-19 took a toll on humans worldwide psychically, mentally, emotionally, and especially financially. This “new normal” came quite literally with a price plus some major adjustments and sacrifices most people were not comfortable with nor prepared to make. The pandemic rendered a majority of unessential workers unemployed or working from home; some for months, others for years. Despite everything, humans are not the only ones who have been impacted by the pandemic. Pets were probably just as confused as we adapted to a whole new way of life. For pets whose owners left the house every day, it had to be a major adjustment to go from barely seeing them on a regular basis to spending every waking moment with them. Working

It can be argued by some experts that pets had a positive impact on their owner’s mental health during the pandemic, but can the same be said for our four-legged friends? Working

“More than 85% of dog owners and 75% of cat owners believed their pets had a positive effect on their well-being during the pandemic,” stated Nancy Gee, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and director of the Center Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.  Working

This information came from survey statistics used in an Animals journal article. However, in an opposing article in National Geographic, Jon Bowen, a behavior consultant at the Royal Veterinary College in London, reported that “Most owners said their pets had provided ‘substantial support’ during the pandemic, yet 62% of respondents said they thought their pet’s quality of life had decreased. . .” Working

All this prompts the question: What do the pets really think of all this? While we can’t rely on our furry friends to tell us, a clever, emerging author just might. A new, timely humor book is just about as close as we can get to reading our pet’s minds. Go the Bark to Work, written by fictional author Bark Twain, provides a look inside the mind of one dog who is stuck in quarantine with his owner, and quite frankly has had enough of his “best friend.” The book was inspired by events that occurred in one pet owner’s home while quarantining the family dog. Working

In the book, the dog mentions that his owner’s constant presence has affected his mental health so poorly that he has sought out a therapist. The dog asks “Shouldn’t you be at work, adding to your wealth? Your being home is bad for my mental health.” Working

(Original artwork by Pablo Martinera, owned by Start Publishing)

As if a contagious viral virus looming over us wasn’t enough to deal with, who could forget the hassle of obtaining everyday essentials while in quarantine? Between supply chain issues, inflation, and recalls, it seemed almost impossible to purchase anything during the pandemic and in some cases, it still is. A recent report on Datasembly showed that the out-of-stock percentage of baby formula nationwide was at 43% in mid-May. It has since risen to approximately 70%. Considering that this past February an Abbott Nutrition plant in Michigan (the largest in the U.S) had to be closed down due to contamination issues, there doesn’t seem to be a hasty end in sight for this shortage.  Working

Much like the case with humans and their babies, supply chain issues and inflation have affected pet parents, and still, continue to. Since the beginning of the pandemic, pet goods were in short supply, and simple yet necessary products like dog and cat food have been harder to come by on the shelves of pet stores and online retailers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of February 2022, inflation on pet food increased by 3.7%. With owners facing the effects of inflation on many household staples, and some reliant on a lower income than they once had, it is no mystery that a hole is being burned into many pet parents’ pockets.

While some pets’ spoiled lifestyles have taken a backseat, it has become a struggle for most owners to maintain the bare minimum. One line in the book comically reads: “You adopted me when I was only a pup. Watching after you now, I feel like I’m the grown-up. You play video games all day. You’re always in a bad mood. Go back to work so you can afford dog food. . .”

Clearly, pet owners’ wallets were taking a hit, and some found value in investing what they did have in cryptocurrency to turn a profit Particularly Dogecoin. Initially created as a joke form of Bitcoin, Dogecoin immediately gained investment traction since its release in 2013. In 2021, usage spiked, and its value has risen astronomically, making it the fourth largest form of cryptocurrency according to a Forbes article. Its success can be credited to Tesla CEO Elon Musk accepting the role as chairman of Dogecoin and expressing his favoritism for it across Twitter. In a clever fashion, the book alludes to the dog justifying the owner’s newfound laziness all because he is investing his funds in a currency that the dog can actually get behind:

“At least you’re trading Dogecoin, so I won’t make a fuss. Do you know who else does it? Elon Musk.”

(Original artwork by Pablo Martinera, owned by Start Publishing)

If you are a Dogecoin user and could use some much-needed comic relief during these hard times, you can use it to buy Go the Bark to Work, besides purchasing it from Amazon and other major retailers. 

We may never know what our pets are thinking, but we do know that this pandemic is surely affecting them too in some way or another. Even if you can’t return to your office every day as your pet may secretly hope, maybe try giving them some space here and there. The last thing you want is your faithful companion nudging you out the door. 

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