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My Squeekers was a 20-year-old little Persian mix called Zero. She ruled my home and I loved it. When she was quite old my daughter and I adopted two Main Coon mixes, Schuyler and Aslan. Zero was their granny and taught them the ropes. Some of her mannerisms and habits are inherent in those two even though Zero has been gone for four years now. They are all apartment cats and midway through isolation I thought of how much I learn from them. They live like this all the time and manage to enjoy themselves and stay in shape by chasing each other and making a huge variety of noises. I have been blessed with the friendship of many pets and to those of you who have gone before, you are sorely missed and eternally loved.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc not only on us people, but also on our 4-legged friends. One example is my dog, Juno, who is an out-of-work certified therapy dog. After years of visits to rehab facilities, The Ronald McDonald House, and a local library where children read to her one Saturday each month, Juno has found herself suddenly without a job. She doesn’t know there is a pandemic happening – all she knows is that she is homebound. (That is, aside from daily, increasingly long walks that she is not terribly excited about.) Recently she got to put her dormant nursing skills to good use when her “sister” (my daughter) had her wisdom teeth out. Juno was right by her side as soon as she got home from the oral surgeon and has been overseeing her care ever since. We are very lucky to have live-in therapy, and I hope all of you find comfort in your own furry friends, whether they be real, stuffed, virtual, or imagined.

My Harry Belafonte is such a comfort to me during this isolation. He follows me wherever I go and is never in a bad mood, even when I am. Now that I am a widow this dog of mine is saving my life by just being here along with my two parakeets. They are both named Billy Holiday and they don’t seem to care that they both have the same name!

If one pet is good, then two pets must be two times better. Our two cats were rescued from an outdoor air conditioning vent many years ago in a mid-April freak snowstorm at my former workplace. My co-workers, knowing we’d recently lost two little black babies, called to ask whether we might be interested in adopting these two little kittens. We really weren’t ready to do that, still in mourning over the last two, but I said I’d go there to “have a look” at those kittens. Yeah, right! Like one can go “have a look” at little kittens and not snatch them up and take them home. Of course we ended up adopting them and now we have two fat, spoiled, precious cats who have enriched our lives beyond all expectations.