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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - You're heading out for work and those big forlorn eyes follow you to the door willing you to stay. If you're really lucky/ a magician you could even receive a 'mew' almost in the tone of 'why are you leaving me?' No, we're not talking about some bizarre Justin Bieber - Hailey Baldwin newlywed ritual, we want to highlight the daily wrench it can be having to say goodbye to your pets and how that has been extinguished by #StayHome. Now we're in all day, we're faced with a different question: what do our fur babies do when we're not here? How do they keep themselves occupied until we pull up in the driveway and, now we are around 24/7, how do we stop the bundles of joy from driving us loco while we have tasks to complete?
First, the serious science bit
"Err you know, pets can spread the virus." Heard that from somebody? Read it in the social media comments? While it is true a couple of animals, notably a Belgian cat, have tested positive for coronavirus, the disease was communicated to the animals by humans. It reportedly doesn't go the other way. The World Health Organisation specifically told New York business publication Quartz, "currently, there is no evidence that pets such as dogs and cats have infected humans with Covid-19." Over here in the UAE cat adoption agency Kittysnip told us false rumours about transmission have sadly led to a 60-70 per cent increase in feline abandonment. This is obviously not on. You have taken on the responsibility of owning an animal. That includes keeping them safe. Period. So, now we've established you're all fine under the same roof, on to the fun part.
Who knew my dog had so much energy?
Like any dad when left alone for the day, we just assumed dogs lay about until evening walkies time rolled around. Nope. Judging from the notable upturn in vids and pics on social media, the stimulation of having people to play with have made them livelier than ever. If you ever want proof, just check out Ariana Grande's Insta feed.
It has got to be a bit tougher to expend that energy now going out for a run after 8pm is off the table as a result of the sterilisation drive curfew's extension. "We're trying hard to come up with ideas for pet parents to keep their pets busy on our social media channels (@PetsDelight)," said Emma Kay-Flowers, marketing manager of UAE pet shop, Pet's Delight. "We have recipes and toys we recommend to keep them busy. This has been quite popular."
Hold the phone, 'toys to keep them busy'?
Yep, that's true. Just when you thought kids had it all, dogs now have specially designed playthings to keep them occupied. These include, but are not limited to, a refillable chewable ball in which you can squirt a flavoured, no-mess spread for them to lick out. What a world in which we live.
Okay...what are the other options?
We think it's high time everybody jumps on the bandwagon and convert this period of isolation with your furry friends into something that can work for everyone. And by that we mean, turn them into social media stars, of course. What else? You have the hours and a phone; join the millions of people garnering thousands of likes uploading the cutest photos on the web. Take a look!
Even Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan recently got in on the act. It's a win-win.
Now I want a pet
Good, it has never been easier. UK newspaper The Independent reported on Friday pet adoptions are up since the virus lockdown began. They wrote re-homing numbers from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have doubled for both species this week compared to the same week last year. A similar sentiment was echoed here by Kittysnip.
"During this time of shutdown due to COVID-19 we are getting requests daily about adopting a cat. It has been truly amazing. As we tend to only get one per week, if we are lucky. This is the perfect time to bring a new pet into your home. As you'll have lots of time to bond with them."
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