Ruff Stuff

“Security is mostly superstition.”

(Helen Keller)


Gone to the dogs, totally

Last week we talked about not channeling our inner Zenifred. (You can catch up here.) Today I’ll pick on Andante. 

 …Oh, don’t you start too! I tried to say something about Dante’s post-surgery “pathetic little chicken leg” on social media and my post was rejected as bullying hate speech. Dear FaceBook: Dante can’t read. Besides, I’m not actually picking on him this time. I’m just using him as an example. (He was paid handsomely for this and gave full consent; I promise!)

 Measuring risk

As COVID rules begin changing rapid-fire once again with different and sometimes conflicting information coming out all the time, we are back to this weird, flux place we’ve been in over and over again in the last year plus. Where’s the ceiling? Where’s the floor? What information can I trust? How do I figure out what’s actually safe and not safe?

 It makes my head hurt.

 A tale of two dogs

Zenifred does many things well. Risk Assessment is not one of them. I honestly don’t think she believes “risk” is a real thing. It might just be something that her humans and fluffy little-big brother dreamed up to make sure she wasn’t having fun. It’s possible, right??

 Dante, on the other paw, can’t seem to fathom that everything is not a terrible, awful risk. He has been with us since he was about six months old; more than 10 years. After 10 years of caring for him, feeding him well, taking him to work nearly every day, loving him and looking after him, he still seems to think that I will poison him one day. 

I have given him filet freaking mignon only to have him sniff it, consider it, drop it on the floor, sniff it some more, possibly lick it and put it in his mouth, drop it again, and maybe or maybe not… eat it. I mean, we haven’t killed him yet, but this! This could be the time.

 COVID risk assessment

I want to suggest to you that neither pooch’s approach to risk evaluation is particularly helpful. Zen wants so badly to just play and enjoy all that life has to offer that she assumes nothing is a risk. Dante assumes that even the very best steak is there to kill him. 

 They could learn a lot if they would stretch toward one another. 

 It bbbuuuurrrnnnnssss!!

What if Zen is right? What if it is sometimes actually safe for fully vaxxed people to meet, without masks and even… dare I type it… HUG??

 What if Dante is right? What if we are nowhere near out of the woods with COVID, and so it really is not a free-for-all? 

 I poured over numerous sources while trying to write this blog. I have been doing this for some time now, attempting to grasp some sort of solid information on when to see clients face to face without masks. If you ever want to be utterly and completely dizzy, try reading Governor Hogan’s Pandemic Orders. Better yet, unless you’re a lawyer? Don’t. They are written in legalese.

Here’s a summary: Blah blah order supersedes blah blah order which only replaces order blah blah in odd numbered sections on even numbered days when the moon is waxing, unless it’s waning then… well… consult an almanac. And throw salt over your shoulder, just in case. You never know.


The CDC is saying that fully vaccinated people* are free to go about life as we did prior to the pandemic. (*“Fully vaccinated” meaning it has been at least two weeks since either the second of a two-shot vaccination, or two weeks after the single dose vaccination.) Zen likes that news! All she heard was “PPPLLLLAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!” But Dante is saying, wwwaaiiittt a minute??? Didn’t that one CDC guy brag about changing their official message to support what former President Trump said?? I don’t trust them anymore.

 Zen was quick to remind Dante that Dr. Anthony Fauci said the humans should “trust” each other when they say they’ve been vaccinated and choose to go maskless. Dante was even quicker to remind Zen that one in six Americans has Herpes and 87% of them don’t even know they have it. He doesn’t think the humans do so well when they “trust” each other to be honest about infections. 

 Zen: Geez, Dante! Remind me to never invite you to a party!

Dante: Don’t bother. I wouldn’t come anyway.

 Regathering, once again

I mentioned in one of my March blogs that the humans are really not humaning well these days. If our driving habits are any indication, I think some of us have become semi-feral as we have spent the last year plus considering one another a threat.

 Now, magically, we are supposed to be able to “trust” each other. We are also trying to resist feeling like we are putting the entire planet in threat when we fully vaxxed people not only share indoor or outdoor physical space, less than 6 feet apart, faces fully exposed but sometimes even, >gasp,< hug. It’s a hard switch for people who have gotten so used to COVID protocols that even seeing people on tv close together with no masks on is jarring.

 How do we switch gears?

 Back to the two Floofy Buddhasonce again

I’m sorry-not sorry to go back to the dogs again, but they’re just so good at illustrating blogs. Aside from validating our more extreme feelings, the dogs aren’t very helpful with risk assessment. They are, however, Spot (Dad joke) on when it comes to coping with yet another pandemic mind twist. They both:

  • Have learned patience with one another, and
  • Stay in NOW


Dante and Zenifred have been trying to understand each other for almost 10 months now. They both had assumptions about how things “should” be. They frequently, loudly, disagreed on house rules and norms. They still have little kerfuffles here and there, but for the most part, they worked it out. They invite one another, and -- eventually – they make room for the other dog’s yes, no, not now or negotiation. They have figured out “how to dog” together. 

 In any given moment, you and all of the humans around you are likely to be in varying places with remembering “how to human,” trying to work out still another “new normal.” You know… sort of like when all of this first started? Except now we are learning how to be ok opening up, instead of closing down. 

 Let’s give ourselves and others room to be clumsy, to feel awkward, to say and do the “wrong” thing. Instead of wishing the floor would open up and swallow us, let’s learn to laugh at our wobbliness around it all. We are re-negotiating what is and isn’t ok, every single day. Sometimes we will agree. Sometimes we won’t. Sometimes we will transition to new ways of being together smoothly. Sometimes it will be the Capital Beltway at rush hour.

 Friends, trust me: There isn’t some concrete set of social subtlety rules that everyone on the planet got… except for you. We are all making it up together as we go along.

 There is only “now”

As many of my clients who have overcome, or are learning to overcome anxiety well know, getting stuck in a past that isn’t currently happening and/or spinning out on an imagined catastrophic future is the essence of anxiety. It tries to rob us of all that’s good right now.

 They say that in a dog’s world there is only now. You say you gave me a treat a minute ago, but that was eons back. It’s definitely time for another. And I know you said you would be “right” back, but there were six thousand “nows” that happened while you were gone and they were awful! But in this “now” you are here, and all is right with the world. About that treat?

 Be in “now” friends. In this moment – this one right  >> HERE <<  we are good enough. When you meet in ways that are safe enough in the estimation of all of those involved, don’t miss a single “now.” Soak them all up. Take it all in. We have all needed this for a very, very long time. 

 The dogs don’t believe me, but I think that all of these “nows” are a treat. Don’t let anyone or anything steal the joy of these moments from you.


Has your coping gone to the dogs? Contact Tiffany here and let’s get you on a better path.