It turns out that for pet owners the best part about social distancing has not been the sourdough bread baking or binge watching Netflix. It has been spending an increased amount of time with their pets.
A study by pet food company Open Farm has found that 60 per cent of pet owners have loved the extra time at home with their fur babies since going into isolation earlier this year.
What’s more, 50 per cent of pet owners have loved the time so much that they now have FOGO – fear of going out without their pets.
With the realisation that the new normal of working from home is not a guarantee forever, people are starting to think of ways of how they can continue to spend this increased amount of time with their pets.
People such as Canberra’s Emily Lukasiak who has been working at home with her beaglier Colby and German pinscher Pinschy since earlier this year. And it is safe to say both her dogs have loved the extra time she has been spending at home.
“The first day that I was at home, they didn’t really catch on. They just slept all day and I was like ‘Oh, this is what you do all day’,” Lukasiak says.
“But then the second day they were like, ‘Oh wow, you’re here’, and they were just all over me. Just being in constant need of attention and clawing at me all the time.
“It’s settled into a bit of a routine where instead of taking eye breaks from my computer I can walk outside and the dogs can go and have a smell and sit in the sun so we’ve kind of been taking our breaks together.”
Workdays now work around Colby and Pinschy – something which both have adjusted to quite nicely.
Every day, at about 4.30pm, Pinschy will start to get restless and will gently remind Lukasiak that it’s time for the dogs’ walk.
“We’ve started finishing work a little bit earlier and take them for a walk while it’s still daylight because we can come back to work and finish off our day a bit later,” she says.
“Making them a priority has been part of our new routine.”
Now, with Lukasiak expected to return to the office in the coming months, she has started thinking about the options that could benefit both her and her two dogs.
While other pet owners may be looking into taking pawternity leave to ease their pets into being at home alone again, Lukasiak and her partner Charles Tran are both hoping to split her working week between the office and home so that someone is always home with the two dogs.
“I have a bit of separation anxiety about going back to work,” Lukasiak says,
“You could say that it’s the same as a new mother going back to work after having a baby. I’m really worried, and I think I will miss them and they’ll miss me. Perhaps they would just go back to what they were like before but I think I’d like to change things.
“It sounds silly but the world has changed now, and working from home, is not frowned upon anymore.
“And flexible working arrangements are a thing and it has been proven to work so if our dogs are happier and we’re happy because our dogs are happy then we should embrace that.”