The benefits of dog-walking during social isolation

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Ali Koenig ('20)

It’s day 7 of social distancing, but who’s counting? If you’re like me, you probably spent the first few days at home catching up on sleep, binge watching Netflix, and deleting the barrage of store closure emails from your inbox.

Last Monday marked the beginning of the Continuity of Learning Plan in the Cherry Hill school district, which I have found oddly comforting because it adds structure to my day. The constant news stories of hardship, hoarding, and self-quarantine have made it challenging to keep a positive attitude during this uncertain time. Adding to my stress is the unknown of how long it may take to flatten the curve. With so many things outside of my control, I know that I need to be proactive and find ways to reduce my stress level. As the old adage goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Sophia Sitnick (’20)

To add some positivity to my day, I have spent time playing with my two energetic dogs. They love the outdoors and are always happy to go for a walk or play a game of catch in the yard. The exercise is a welcome change from sitting at my computer, relaxing on the sofa, or social media. An added benefit to walking the dogs is that I get a little human interaction too. It is easy to greet neighbors with a smile while practicing social distancing.

I am grateful for the time spent outside with my dogs which consistently improves my mood and reduces my stress. My dogs’ adorable faces and wagging tails remind me to find joy in simple things. It is 80 degrees and the sun is shining today, trees are in bloom, and birds are chirping. Being outside makes me hopeful that this “new normal” will eventually pass, sooner rather than later. If you are in need of a pick me up, I recommend grabbing a leash and your pup. Happy dog walking!