How Do I Explain Social Distancing to My Puppy?

Illustration for article titled How Do I Explain Social Distancing to My Puppy?
Photo: Shannon Melero

After two cats tested positive for the coronavirus, the CDC is now recommending applying social distancing rules to house pets, according to an ABC News report. The two infected cats are expected to make a full recovery, but in true asshole cat fashion have now ruined everything for all of the other pets. While the CDC says that healthy pet owners can still interact with their pets normally while at home, the organization suggests animals abide by some isolation standards: it recommends cats remain indoors and dogs be kept at a six-foot distance from other dogs and people while outside. All pets should be kept away from any sick people, even if that person is their owner. Testing pets for coronavirus is also a nightmare, as it requires swabs of the “nose, of the mouth, and the conjunctiva of the eyes, as well as fecal testing,” Dr. Melissa Salgado, the vet who diagnosed the rona cats, told ABC News.


But the real problem with the updated guidelines for social distancing is that animals are (and this is important) animals. They have no sense of decency or common courtesy, they don’t watch the news, they’re not putting on face coverings, and they probably don’t understand why the humans are at home more often than usual. If house pets were able to understand the news at all, they’d probably join the hoards of animals breaking free and taking over entire towns. (It’s only a matter of time before the pets wise up and join the resistance.)

With an increase in pet adoption, there’s likely a hefty number of people sitting at home looking at their new cat or dog and wondering how exactly to have “the talk” with them. Or even worse, there are the service animals who have been trained for years to stay close to their owners and help them with daily tasks— what does the CDC have to say to those unsung four-legged heroes? My own dog, the best Jez pet, could never abide by social distancing rules, no matter how calmly I try to explain them to him. He’s only got one dog friend, Twix, and were I to prevent him from sniffing Twix’s butthole there would be a mutiny in the streets.

The only silver lining in the new pet social distancing recommendation is that healthy people can still stay close to their pets. Until the cats and dogs of the world come together to purposely infect the human race and wipe us all out, everything should be fine. Wash your paws.



Back in the good old days (anything before a couple of months ago) there was a little boy down the street who’d come out to his driveway and says hello to Boo dog when we’re out on our walks.

Since the stay at home advisory, I have been urging him past the house until one day he finally dug in at the end of that driveway & stared at the door willing that boy to come out. Eventually he got the idea that it wasn’t going to happen & moved on. He still looks over when we go past now. I feel so bad for him.