I wanted to write about how I am dealing with executive orders from our state and federal government to ….“Stay home, Stay healthy, Stay connected” and wear face masks when in public to prevent the spread of disease to others if we are asymptomatic. – I have read and stay updated and choose not to listen to a lot of social media and news shows on this pandemic. While it is important to stay informed and up to date, it is also very important not to panic and be paralyzed with fear and ultimately depression.
When I read the minimal “social distancing” precautions, I was shocked and somewhat angered that people are still refusing to honor, respect and be morally obligated to follow executive orders. I thought, are they not aware information on how the virus lives on surfaces often for as long as 3 days.
-between 3 hours (fabric and porous),
-4 hours (copper and wood)
-24 hours (cardboard),
- 42 hours (metal) and
-72 hours (plastic).
The virus is also very stable in cold weather and can float in the air for up to 3 hours being available for us to breath. Are those people making those decisions to stay open understand this information about surfaces?
After carefully thinking this through I decided that each one of us has the right to make our own decisions on our moral obligation to ourselves, our families, our parents, grandparents and others in our community. Yes, many people are out of work, have big bills to pay with their business and they cannot afford to close. So decisions are made with what seem to be the best intentions.
What I have noticed when doing lessons, such as with 2 friends introducing them to some agility to do with their Border Collie, that it is not always possible to practice social distancing when giving a lesson. Things happen that automatically push you closer. Also friends seem to trust your wellness and seem OK by not practicing social distancing. Sometimes their dog comes over to you, jumps on you or interacts which leads to touching and closeness. So even with you are giving a lesson things happen to both parties that push them closer. If you are taking lessons with another person or having them work your dog, there is the passing off of the dog, touching of the leash and of the dog. Again, trust and not considering surfaces carrying the virus.
When we hand our dog to a trainer, or the trainer needs to get close to show us something or the dog jumps on the trainer, spreading of the virus is a possibility that we need to be aware of.
Each of us can make our own choices and while we may not understand choices made by others, it is not our responsibility to react in angry social media postings or in conversations. Each of us will morally have to live with our decisions if the worse should happen to us and those we have exposed to this virus.
Decisions I Have Made and How Me and My Dogs are Healthy, Happy, and at Peace
The first decision that took a lot of careful and non-selfish thought was to cancel my herding lessons which I enjoy. Will my dogs really suffer from not herding livestock? The answer is “NO” they are happy whatever they get to do with me. My pleasure and any decision would be purely selfish.
I then decided that I could still take the dogs on their favorite walks, hikes, runs on non-crowed trails. One of the trails that I was using this winter had become quite crowded and we had to pass people closely getting back to our car. My young Border Collie, Beckett, LOVES people and often runs up to greet them. Of course they can’t resist touching and patting him (again surface touching). So again, another decision that I could no longer go on these types of trails attracting more people. Quite fortunately I live backed up to the forest service and can hike out my back door for miles and miles in gorgeous red rock country and see NO ONE… (see picture above).
I have become more involved with online one-on-one training in one of our sports, scent work. I signed up for a GOLD or working spot in the FENZI online class with the awesome Stacy Barnett, “Rocking Vehicles and Exteriors.” Scent work is a great sport for working at home or choosing places where there are not others to even have to consider social distancing. In addition Stacy has started a second online forum of scent work lessons, webinars and coaching which we joined. These classes are fun and there are others to interact with safely online.
Beckett and Myst actively compete in obedience and we are using this opportunity to proof and tune-up our work. Beckett had an awesome winter competing with high and winning scores in his novice classes. He is trained in Open and ready to compete when shows begin again. After a few months in Open I believe he will be ready for Utility. This time is perfect to train, proof and make obedience fun and not pressured for the show. See my latest video on proofing Beckett’s UTILITY GO OUTS.
Fortunately, our beautiful training field in the Verde Valley is still open to us for training as long as only a few people are there training and only one in a ring. Training times are limited to 30 minutes in case there are people waiting. I have found that most often I am the only person there training and at the most there might be one other person. While at this lovely big area I am doing agility fun with Beckett and exterior scent work with Myst.
The dogs also work out almost daily in their doggie gym using the balance discs to stay fit, sound and build core strength. The continue to do their tricks and learn new ones. They love the doggie gym and expect some fun there in afternoons before dinner.
See examples in on our web site.
We have many things that the dogs and I enjoy SAFELY. Also, it is spring and the weather is perfect; our days are fun, and my life is filled with these happy experiences with my dog. I am trying to do my part to not only stay fit, happy and healthy but also share this with my family and dogs. I try to add balance to my life and share my peace and happiness with others such as my Make a Wish family.