In this recent piece for the PBS NewsHour, correspondent Malcom Brabant discusses England’s COVID canine calamity.

As I wrote in a recent post, dog adoptions have soared in Florida during the pandemic. Same thing in Britain. Toilet paper hoarding and puppy housemates have become the English physiological and psychological base in the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs.

Dogs became the must-have thing, after the toilet roll.

Beverley Cuddy, “the canine Cronkite” of the BBC
SimplyPsychology.org

As dogs become as dear as our own family — maybe more, since people can really get under our skin after six months of lockdown, and a dog is always happy to see you, in a goofy Groundhog Day kind of loop — the Evil Do-Ers have converted our displaced priorities into a new revenue stream (as I learned to say in my previous life as a budget analyst): dognapping.

In the United Kingdom, an unexpected result of the pandemic: a surge in dognapping. Puppy prices have soared during lockdown, and pet thefts have spiked 65 percent in a year.

PBS NewsHour

Sadly, British law equates the loss of a dog with the loss of an iPhone or other personal property. But these are members of a family.

They have got human names. They used to be called Spot and Fido and maybe they lived in the shed. Now they’re on the sofa. They’re on the bed.

Beverley Cuddy, “the canine Cronkite” of the BBC

God speed to the British Parliament in addressing this growing problem.

But that’s not the worst of it. Dogs have taken over people’s homes. Those cute bundles of fur have grown into full on home invaders. Brabant recounts his own experience.

Loki is a typical lockdown puppy. We paid top dollar seven months ago, and haven’t once left him alone. He had an idyllic lockdown. But in common with so many new owners, we have become his prisoners.

Malcolm Brabant, PBS NewsHour Special Correspondent

We feel you, Malcolm. We knew Kumba did not like being left alone when we adopted him in February the Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida. There was trauma in his past: he’d been given up by his owners and left in a shelter in Puerto Rico, where he had remained for months before LRROF flew him to Ft. Lauderdale. He weighed 50 pounds and was so anemic that the LRROF vet didn’t know how he was still upright. By the time we brought him home from his amazing foster mother Kim, he was gaining weight and confidence, but he was pretty unsure about life in general.

Now, we are his prisoners, too. It’s pretty hard to break eye-contact with this guy.

And he’s not a big fan of being on his own even with his toys.

When we left him on his own for the first time, here is part of what happened. Oh, yeah, he is a clever one, chewing on A Dog’s Way Home and making an appetizer of several sheets of my own writing. Who knew dogs could be ironic.

Without realizing, dog owners living through the pandemic may not realize that there is a problem until things return to normal and they’re off to school, to work, to dinner.

The sad fact is that, if you have a dog with an established attachment disorder, you have to be at home in order to get through a behavior modification program. If you only discover it once you’re out to work for eight, nine hours a day, then it becomes almost impossible to rectify.

Sue Ketland, Behaviour and Training Consultant, Wood Green the Animal Charity

Word to the wise. Get out of the house while you have time to get Fido, er Philip, used to life without you. There must be a self-help group for this dog-person co-dependency.

We are going for a drive today. Just the two humans in the household. Although my husband said, “Let’s bring Kumba!”

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