It’s day 18 of lock down and things are starting to get weird…

Days are rolling into each other. My husband has decided to start growing a beard – turns out his facial hair is ginger. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’ve turned to yoga, meditation and online dance parties to survive his ongoing onslaught of small talk – I think he’s missing the social contact a lot more than me. Bless him, I bloody love him, but he could talk the legs of a table whilst still working whereas I will work quietly and focus on my task. We’ve also turned a bit Spanish – eating lunch around 4pm, dinner around 9pm. Luckily so far neither of us has succumbed to the Tik Tok craze… yet.


Betty is a natural at downward dog

We are also navigating a new non-routine with the dogs. The current restrictions mean we are no longer walking the dogs as often each day. Actually, right now, we aren’t walking them at all. Might sound a bit crazy but we are taking this time to really focus on playing games and doing training in the house and in our garden to improve and fine tune certain behaviours that have just not been trained well enough, that were far from 100%. Being forced to stay at home is the perfect time for this and they all end up exhausted and passed out by 7pm every night.


Fetch is a favourite for all the girls - you just have to be good a multitasking to play with them all at once

I know I mentioned last time we had enrolled in the ‘Sexier than a Squirrel’ 25-day challenge with Absolute Dogs. If you haven’t already, go take a look. So far it has been really good. Learning a new game each day is fun but also the conversations we are having in the Facebook group, chatting with other owners about different training issues we are having, what is working and what is not. It’s such a positive and helpful group which is a nice break from all the seriousness that is going on in the world right now.

My husband and I are working as a team with the training which has been a new experience in communication and patience. I’m a control freak and he’s a rule breaker – yeah imagine how well we were handling this in the beginning - complete mess with lots of silly arguments! But alas, quarantine has really helped us to communicated more effectively and to work together more productively. Either that or one of us has taken up a secret drinking habit.

Like many people, we’ve had to sit down and look at our finances and budgets to ensure we are being savvy. How the next few months (or longer) are going to play out financially for everyone is a big unknown and it is stressful. We sat down and went through our outgoings and highlighted all the non-negotiables, must-haves, can’t-live-withouts, to find out exactly what we need on a monthly basis. And this got me thinking… some of our essential items will mirror everyone else’s – electricity, phone, internet, food. But one of our other crucial essential monthly spends is our pet insurance. But is this the same for other people?

With 3 dogs and a cat, we spend just over £200 every month on pet insurance. Some people may gasp at this amount, but even with our 2 incomes, before corona came in and messed everything up, we would not be able to afford the bills for our pets if we didn’t have insurance. Speaking from experience working as a vet, I know most people will be in the same situation. So is this on your essential item list, or non-essential item list?


She may be a cutie but we couldn't afford her vet bills without insurance

At a time like this everyone needs to be sure they are living within their means, cut back on items/services that aren’t necessary. I would absolutely implore every one of you to think before you put the pet insurance on the non-essential list, before you cancel it to save money each month. I would cut every other non-essential item (yes even Netflix) within your budget BEFORE you cut this. Whether or not you have pet insurance could literally be the deciding factor on whether or not your pet has a chance to survive in an emergency. Think about it. Is continuing to have those cigarettes more important than your cat’s life? Is having a couple of beers each night more important than your dog’s life? Is getting take away more important than your child’s rabbit’s life? If the answer to any of these is yes, seriously you don’t deserve a pet to begin with and I hope I never meet you. These next few months are going to be difficult for everyone, could you imagine having to say goodbye to your beloved pet as well?

Everyone is going to have to make changes and sacrifices during these coming months, all I’m asking is for you to think about the consequences of cancelling your pet insurance as an easy way to save money each month. So what have we done? One thing that will make a huge difference for us is we’ve turned our heating off. I’m sure lots of people in the UK or other countries that are in Spring are like – you only just turned your heating off?!? Yes, we like our house nice and toasty don’t judge us. What we didn’t realise is that the style of heating in our rental house actually costs us £10 a day!!!!! Holy crap!! So just by turning that off we are saving around £300 each month. Yes, we are walking around in sweats and slippers all day, every day, but let’s be honest, you’re reading this in your pyjamas right now aren’t you? Guilty. Along with the rest of the world. I’m not living in my pyjamas, but I am constantly in my active wear – a constant state of living for about 10 months now if I’m honest. It’s just so comfy and versatile. I totally used to judge people who wore active wear to the shops. I am now one of those people. Shameless about it too.

This time of isolation will come to an end at some point. For now we all need to adapt. Make the most of this time at home to reconnect with the people you live with, with friends and family over the phone, with your pets. Get on Youtube and learn a new skill – my husband actually baked a pie last night! And I didn’t get in the way and try to take over. Both new skills learnt during isolation!


Stay safe, stay motivated, stay positive, and as always, enjoy your journey to becoming a mindful pet owner.

Anita

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