The dog days aren’t over quite yet, but are they truly that different? Not for my dog. 

I’m a writer at Maev and my 6-year-old rescue dog Bruce and I live in sunny Phoenix, Arizona where we are blessed with lots of space and sunshine for social distancing. I am going a little stir crazy, but it dawned on me that maybe Bruce doesn’t even notice the differences in his days. Let me explain. 

6:00 am - Alarm goes off and I press snooze. I know 6 am is aspirational and I’m realistic enough to know I won’t actually be rolling out of bed until at least two snoozes later at 6:18. Bruce knows too and in fact he is full blown not moving from this spot. 

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7:03 am - By now I’ve journaled my little heart out and am ready to face reality by turning on the morning news. Bruce has moved halfway to the door at this point. He demands attention and belly rubs as I pass by. It’s really cute and sweet, so of course I comply. 

7:40 am - I like to check in on Slack just to see what’s going on and what projects should be on my radar. Most of my clients are in time zones ahead of me, so it always feels like I’m playing catch up. Bruce waits patiently (read: stares me down) by the door until I shut my Macbook and lace up my running shoes for our grand morning marathon! Sometimes he gets a little pushy and tries to shut my laptop for me with one sweeping paw. 

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8:05 am - We are out the door and I am making sure my Apple watch is tracking this run - I want it to count to hit my “daily fitness goal”. When the world was a bit less hectic I would listen to music, but now I catch myself listening to inspirational podcasts only. I need the boost. Bruce, however, is always boosted this time of day. These three miles we’re about to tackle is what he waits for and dreams about! Running is my main form of exercise and I joke that Bruce is the best trainer I’ve ever had because I am held accountable every. single. day! I’m thankful for it though because something about getting outdoors at full sprint lets my mind escape from stress. It can be meditative and that’s something I’ve come to know I need. 

8:10 am  - It’s important to mention that Bruce is more than half my size. He literally drags me down the block for the first mile and then tempers. Within our little dog walking community I am known as the girl whose dog walks (read: runs) her! It’s not a lie. Let’s just say we’re famous. 

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8:45 am - This is the part of the day where I’m now living a new normal. At this time, we’d usually used to head home only for me to get ready for work while sipping my coffee. Now I basically just don’t get ready, but still sip on a pot of black coffee for the rest of the morning. Bruce goes into the bedroom to sprawl out for his first long nap of the day per usual. Work is a bit different these days. I used to have a part time job at a flower shop because I love plants, but they downsized due to the economic toll of quarantine. I still manage social media for a couple clients and currently we are riding the wave of the imminent crisis. These days it’s important to show up as a human in everything we post and there’s so much more intentional thought that needs to go into that because we are separate, but together online. I have less work and more work than ever at the same time. 

10:30 am - I need to take a break to give the big guy a big squeeze. Why have a dog if you don’t use them as a reprieve from some stress? He’s living his best life on the biggest bed and will motion the slightest tail wag to say hi to me too! 

12:30 pm - Surely he’s still wondering why I’m here right? Nope! He just sees me as a treat machine and awakens from the dead when he hears me open the fridge to either eat his lunch or come trick me into giving him some of mine which is usually a chicken salad of some sort. If I don’t eat a big helping of greens at lunch there’s no promise it will happen at dinner! He knows the exact little leg-stretch, downward dog bow combo that gets me every time… if anything my dog is the one gaining the extra lbs during quarantine!

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3:00 pm - It’s time for another walk and he knows it! He’s casual this time. No begging - just watching every move I make in case I inch close enough to the leash closet. As soon as I grab it, he leaps with joy and flailing paws! I wish I was able to express as much happiness about, well, anything. Perhaps that’s something for me to work towards - not counting on it this month though.

3:05 pm - He has decided to take his stuffed monkey with him on our lap around the block. I don’t mind because when he brings it he tugs way less on the leash. The only thing is it really diminishes our ‘cool factor’ - a big shepherd dog toting around a comfort toy doesn’t really scream intimidating if you know what I mean…

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3:30 pm - We’re home now and I wonder, does he notice that he’s getting more mileage per day? If anything, he seems to be getting more confident about demanding it. This is not good. He goes back into the bedroom and lays down. I hop back on my computer to work some more.

6:00 pm - This is my end of day, kind of. I try for it to be, but there is always something else to work on. Bruce knows it’s time to go out again, so that’s what stops me. He’s been watching the people pass by on the street and it’s as if the wind is whispering his name. He makes sure to let me know it’s time to get out there. My parents live nearby and they have a glorious backyard for him to do all the zoomies he wants in. Since they’re essentially my quarantine buddies, we head over for a glass of wine (for me) and time to run (for him). 

9:00 pm - After dinner has been served, eaten and ample treats consumed, we mosey our way back home. He rushes in the door and eats whatever leftover food has been sitting in his bowl. I sit myself down on the couch for whatever is new/ unwatched episode is available of Little Fires Everywhere, Tiger King or High Fidelity. After this is all said and done, I will never take for granted the feeling of coming home from a fun dinner out with friends or even an above average Hinge date at this point. Honestly, even an average or below average Hinge date. It all just feels bland and lonely until he climbs up on the couch right beside me.

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11:00 pm - Time for bed and one last pit stop outside. Bruce knows this is his routine. Nothing is different about this moment for him. As I take him outside I think about how lucky I am that my only inconvenience is having nothing new and exciting to do. I am healthy. My family is healthy. My dog is happy. I still have work and actual time to grow in ways I never thought. I am not suffering, but rather figuring out and appreciating what is most important - maybe that is what all this is about? As for Bruce, a rescue dog who used to have life a lot worse, I think he’s figured how to take everything in stride and enjoy the ride!