As I write this editorial, concerns of the coronavirus are spreading. As it continues to jump from person to person and country to country, one question (rooted in fear) remains for some pet lovers … can my pet get it and can they give it to me? This novel virus now named COVID-19 is wreaking havoc in many communities. It seems to be mostly lethal to populations 70 and older or for those with compromised immune systems (that we know of).
But what about our pets? Are we prepared for them? What is happening to the pets in these communities with active outbreaks? How can we help?
In Hong Kong, a dog without symptoms recently tested positive and will remain in quarantine until tests are negative. What does this mean to you? This grave situation is filled with too many variables and unknowns yet that people can barely protect themselves, let alone their beloved pets. People are being advised to not panic and to prepare for the virus to hit, especially here in Wisconsin.
However, in Wuhan, pets are being abandoned or unfairly targeted. They are being left in apartments alone while their owners are prohibited from entering the city. Wuhan Small Animal Protection Association has already rescued hundreds since this outbreak began. So what I plead to you is … help in anyway you can. Hug and love your own companion(s) every day. Do not abandon your pet. They need you to be strong and to take care of them, and in return, they will take care of you. Stress depletes the immune system; I know this firsthand. And pets help relieve stress. Get prepared as best you can.
This brings me to my 6-year-old son, Ezra. Even he has stress. He may be autistic, but why stress? Maybe it’s hereditary. Each day he struggles to control his body and his mind. It’s like watching someone whose body is on fire and whose mind is constantly just feeding it more fuel. His body just takes over. Animals help my son! I notice during equine therapy that he is trying hard to focus. It’s so hard as a mom to watch your child struggle each day (now imagine the moms in Wuhan). Animals are so therapeutic and comforting that it’s astounding that there aren’t more laws protecting them and more people taking care of them.
I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone helping those in need right now. I pray for the people who are infected, for the ones who have past, for the ones just trying to go home and especially for the ones who have children or animals they are responsible for. Be strong!
To all of you out there protecting & aiding your loved ones … don’t forget about yourself along the way,