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Ancient Companionship during Social Distancing

While many of us are working from home and wondering when our lives will return to normal, there are a number of animals looking for a space to permanently shelter in place aka a forever home.

It's an interesting time in the world and here at home in the nation's capital, while work has slowed down a lot for me, some people are busier than ever. Those working to save and rehome animals are hustling as time is always of the essence when saving animals lives.

"Every second is of infinite value." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


In light of the new challenges and strict guidelines in a COVID-19 world, volunteers and employees wanted to find a large space for the folks to pick up of nearly 50 animals. City Dogs Rescue asked me to cover this adoption effort. These little afternoon projects where I focus on shelter animals are always my favorite. I'm continusly surprised at the variety and quality of dogs in need of homes. The furry, friendly optimism pulls at my heart stings; I hope they all find good and loving homes.

A cemetery is an unlikely place to watch dogs, saved from kill shelters in the South, go with info packets and wagging tails to the cars of foster parents and adopters. Historic Congressional Cemetery partnered with City Dogs Rescue to make it easier for people to maintain physical distance and still pick with their new pet. Think of it as a modest drive-thru for shelter pets.


While at Congressional Cemetery on this shoot for City Dogs Rescue in Washington DC, I spoke with one man who is working from home, like may others, he said now is the perfect time for him to get a dog. His new black and white dog with three legs will have plenty of time to adjust to his new surroundings. This was a common sentiment of the day from folks picking up their new pets or fosters. People feel like they have the time to help a new pet adjust to life before the 'pet parents' go back to work.


In spite of all that is going on around us; shelter-in-place orders, social distancing and self-quarantine people are still seeking out man's best friend. Dogs have been our friends for 20,000 to 40,000 years according to one article written by the BBC based on DNA information found at archaeological sites in Germany and Ireland. That's a long time and suggest that we humans and dogs have evolved to live and work together.



With that information and ancient past it makes sense to me that more people are considering animal adoption during this time of struggle with COVID-19 and it's widespread impact. Yes, many now have more time and home to help a dog adjust to his/her new life. I think it's more than that. Dogs are a familiar comfort and friend we haven't always made time because of our busy lives.


The work of German ethologists Wolfgang Schleidt and Michael Shalter, who have argued that early modern humans learned how to hunt cooperatively and to live together peacefully from wolves. Now with more time in our homes we are willing to trace the footprint of our ancestors and connect with something more than a TV or smartphone.

I'm propbly being a little too idealist and hopeful but maybe there is something more to this.


If you have ever had a dog you know dogs can bring routine to a household and even comfort and a certainly a good laugh. There are hundreds of articles researching and describing how dogs positively impact our lives and health. Harvard Health published an article on the growing body of evidence that having a dog may help improve heart health. Trained dogs catch the bad guy, detect cancer, lead the blind and retrieve a beer from the fridge. Of course they can make us feel better by just being close by.




Dogs enrich our lives in ways that we can and can't always quantify. Why shouldn’t they? We've been with dogs for thousands of yeasr and have learned that we can weather just about any storm with a good dog by our side.

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” – Harry Truman (former president of the United States)

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