After we made the decision to close the clinic and had told our staff and clients, the next task was to inform Teddy and Buddy. Not being protected by any government furlough scheme they were worried how they would pay for their bones and if they weren’t at work. Would they still get treats and toys, as they do from clients when they are ‘at work’?
Initially, they (well, Teddy) didn’t understand why we weren’t going to work, but there were smells and items from the clinic which they recognised. They also thought this would mean endless walks and had no concept of one hour’s limit of exercise, per person, per day.
The dogs have enjoyed the nice weather and have spent many hours in the garden being lazy, playing or waiting for BBQ food to be ready. Our neighbour also has a dog and many hours have been spent talking/barking at each other though the fence – not a conversation all our neighbours enjoyed.
After a few weeks our dog sitter, who looks after the dogs when we are on holiday or they aren’t able to come into the clinic, was able to reopen her business with a few changes including collecting the dogs rather than clients dropping them off. This created a new routine for the dogs which they have really enjoyed. A day care day or un-day care day begins the same. With later lockdown lie-ins, we wake up later and we all get breakfast. The patrol at the lounge window then begins and everyone that walks by the window is asked to move away. Any moving vehicle is assumed to be someone to pick them up. Neither our window nor their sofa perch is big enough for them both, so there tends to be legs and ears hanging down all over.
The arrival of their chauffeur is a big event, at which they have become well practised at the routine. It’s an event that our neighbours are now coming out to see, almost as popular as changing of the guard, as the dogs run from the front door and launch themselves into the transport crates to go off and visit their friends.
We get photos of what they get up to all day, but we always measure their fun by how tired and dirty they are. Other than that, “what happens at day care stays at day care” appears to be the rule.
Minus their chauffeur arriving, a non-day care day looks the same except for disappointment when they realise today just isn’t “their day” and they settle for a day at home. This point is mainly established once they see the daily government briefing isn’t happening and so they move away from the window.
However, as with most people this is our “new normal”. As we move to reopen the clinic, this normal will change again as the dogs stay at home whilst Sarah goes off to work and the dogs may make an appearance on a video chat appointment with a client at home with Trevor.
We have always said we should have a diary for when the dogs are in the clinic and maybe we need to set up video call appointments with the dogs…