In an April article by Larry Keller in The Palm Beach Post, the director of a Florida animal shelter said that many people were adopting dogs as they sheltered in place in the first month of the Coronavirus pandemic.

I think for comfort… Emotional support… these are people that probably wanted to adopt, and now they have more free time to spend with a pet.

Tri-County Animal Rescue CEO Susie Goldsmith

Research has shown that walking a pet dog, playing with the cat, or engaging in the daily care of a companion animal can help to increase healthy behaviors, increasing the likelihood of recovering from serious illness.

Ten years ago, when my husband and our chocolate Lab, Django, were enjoying winter weeks in Florida while I was still working in upstate New York, I realized that, although I was getting exercise at the gym, I didn’t get out in the neighborhood like I had walking our Lab.

We need another dog!

Jane Kelly Amerson Lopez

Black Lab puppy Pancho joined our family. A few years later, I figured out an even better idea was retiring and joining the rest of the family in Florida.

Pancho became our daughter’s companion through college and grad school and life. His muzzle and paws are now a distinguished gray, causing a Spanish-speaking toddler in the family visiting remotely to wonder why the Pancho was wearing white zapatos, shoes. Very fancy.

When we lost our chocolate Lab Django to a debilitating nerve disease, the hole his absence left in our hearts was too deep to fill. Devastation became melancholy, and sorrow became remembrance.

Time does heal. And new experiences give you perspective.As I recovered from my 2019 Amsterdam illness and my husband recovered from the trauma of nearly losing me, the hole in our hearts filled and our life made room for Kumba. He was cautious but so sweet, and time has made him stronger, happier, sillier. He’s my exercise buddy and our at-home entertainment. We are so grateful to have found each other.


Barely six weeks after we adopted Kumba, the country was in Coronavirus lockdown. Because both of us are immune compromised, we would probably have not ventured out to bring a dog into our house, but lots of other people have. More than ever.

Abandoned dogs who once waited desperately at local shelters for someone to want them now have people standing in line to take them home.

Sue Carlton, Tampa Bay Times

All of a sudden, people are home all the time, with an abundance of time on their hands. People are taking their dogs for walks and generally building stronger emotional relationships with their pets, reducing their own stress, anxiety, and depression.

It’s crazy good that people care that much.

Sherry Silk. Humane Society of Tampa Bay
Topaz Assistance Dog founder Shoshone Tanner and Callie (Jon Austria, Naples Daily News, USA Today Network)

And then we have service dogs. In this inspiring story by Andrew Atkins in the Naples Daily News, we meet Callie, who lets alerts her hearing-impaired owner to sounds and gives her a warning if she’s about to have a seizure. Her owner is also the founder of Topaz Assistance Dogs. An abundance of love and of gratitude going on here.

Levi Journey

Here is an update on a post from last year about a rescue Golden Retriever named Levi Journey. Levi and his saga will soon be a children’s book! Levi’s therapy partner, Julie, has written a children’s book about the Golden Retriever’s transformation from abandoned stray to much-loved therapy dog. Martin Peers, an illustrator from the UK, is partnering with Julie on the book, which should be available in time for Christmas. I will post a link to order the book when it becomes available. Meantime, here’s a fun look at how Martin does his work. Our Pancho and Kumba both resemble the results!

And, finally, here is an invitation. Kumba was rescued from a shelter in Puerto Rico by Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida and I am participating in their virtual yoga class fundraiser this Saturday. “See” you there?

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