Little did I know that I would be prepared for the pandemic thanks to my dog Maggie Mae and my single lifestyle. In March when Governor Cuomo announced “New York State on PAUSE (Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone)” I wasn’t sure what life would be like, but I soon learned I would be okay.
I’m used to being by myself and I enjoy my own company but at the same time I like to socialize so I had to figure out how this was going to work in lockdown.
Having Maggie Mae with me was very comforting even before the pandemic. Now it was especially good to have a living creature in the house. As soon as I heard we were on lockdown I devised a plan.
I made a pact with my friend Barbara to check in with each other daily. I called friends I hadn’t spoken to in a while and wrote a very long overdue thank-you note to my high school French teacher Ellen LeClair who gave me advice that changed my life.
Since I don’t consider myself old but am in the demographic that needed to take more precautions, I did curbside pickups for food and ordered everything else I needed online including Maggie Mae’s food. I will be forever grateful to my goddaughter’s father and good friend Alex for offering to do anything I needed from picking up prescriptions to buying the much-coveted toilet paper. And I am thankful for the friends and neighbors who said, “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.”
I baked and cooked a lot. In the spirit of victory gardens, I purchased an indoor garden and grew lettuce, basil and tomatoes. I bought lots of things for my kitchen among them an azure blue standing mixer with a glass bowl that I named “Betty” and a couple of Dutch ovens. I ordered as much flour and baking supplies as I could get. When yeast was hard to find my former student and now friend Ann sent me some from Massachusetts.
Even though I always wear a mask when Maggie Mae and I take our walks, we physically distance. Maggie Mae didn’t seem to understand why our neighbors didn’t come over to pet her. One morning on our walk into town, we saw our friend Carmine. Excited to see him, Maggie Mae wagged her tail. She was used to him picking her up or bending down to give her a hug. When there was no hug forthcoming, she looked sad.
In the late morning just after she had her daily snack, Maggie Mae would hear me say, “It’s Cuomo time.” She knew what that meant. It was time for her to hop up on the sofa and watch Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings with me. She would snuggle up next to me as I took notes so I could post a relevant quote for my Facebook followers.
Maggie Mae’s reaction to my virtual Pilates session was priceless. She was puzzled when she saw me lying on my Pilates mat in the middle of the living room and she heard the voice of Lauren, my trainer coming from my laptop which was also on the floor. She barked at me and the expression on her face reflected what she probably would have said, “What are you doing? Are you okay?”
My biggest stresses were about Maggie Mae. Going to the vet was challenging. They had new protocols and I had to wait in the car while they took her inside. And I had no idea when she would ever get a haircut again. While I am still in Phase One for the most part, the mobile grooming started up again in June and came to us to keep her looking her best curly-haired Poodle self.
The saddest thing for me was when my childhood friend Jeanne’s husband passed away from COVID. It was heartbreaking not to be able to be with her at the funeral or during Shiva. We talked on the phone a lot, but nothing can replace a hug.
I read that adoption rates for first-time pet owners was up all over the country. I can understand why. Having the company of my darling little dog, and her kisses and hugs made this challenging time much more bearable. I don’t know what I would do without my girl, Maggie Mae.
If you want to hear Maggie Mae’s side of the story check out her blog. https://maggiemaepup.com/2020/07/04/pandemic-pup-reporter/