It must be April Fool's Day?

Gabe the Husky lying on a porch

First off, all of us here at RAWZ hope that you're doing well and staying healthy. During these difficult (on many fronts) times, I wouldn't be surprised if animal nutrition wasn't in the forefront of your mind. And I assure you, the current pandemic engulfing the world is not an elaborate April Fool's joke! While the current situation is nothing to make light of, the drastic change in our daily lives has really made some things abundantly clear. I can't tell you how many people have shared with me how much they appreciate their pet right now, or reminded me to, "Thank God, you have a dog!"

I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment and thought I'd take a second to reflect on why our pets are so important. "New Age" or "Spiritual" thinking focused on interconnectedness seem to be hot topics of the last few years. Personally, I find it interesting that on the one hand we take deep interest in spirituality and the inter-connectedness of all things, and yet, it is actually disconnection or isolation that is one of the unfortunate characteristics of modern life. The roots of the mental health crisis and addiction epidemic we often read about, that cause all sorts of problems and costs our society greatly, often can be traced back to a person feeling isolated. With the social distancing and stay at home orders instituted to prevent the virus' spread, we're all probably feeling a bit more separated than usual, perhaps even lonely.

While it is entirely normal and to be expected in a time like this to have these feelings, I suspect it's probably not a totally novel sensation for brain injury survivors. I certainly remember thinking that I wasn't even alive, rather observing the continuation of "normal" life for everyone else as a passive observer. I know I've heard similar feelings from my amazing fellows members at Krempels Center. In no way am I trying to drum up sympathy here, rather just emphasizing the difficulty of living through drastic, unexpected change. So whether it's a job change, the loss of a loved one, divorce, or even a child moving away from home, as humans we all seek comfort in dynamic times.

I know in our current particular set of circumstances, and certainly through both Andy and my recoveries, the family pet (dog in our case) gave unconditional love and support providing invaluable comfort in a difficult time. Even after living through that time, only did the benefit of hindsight allow me the gratitude for the power a pet can have in a persons' time of need. In these current times I'm able to appreciate the joy of having a pet and truly identify with pet owners that speak in glowing terms about their own four-legged family member(s)!