Sheltering and Stressed

I am so stressed out and I don’t know how to relax since I’m under a shelter in place order. Please advise. How do you guys stay sane? I am so worried we won’t go back to normal. And I don’t know how much longer I can take this. My anxiety is so high right now. And I’m having trouble sleeping.

–Super Stressed

Well, for starters, you’re assuming that the Dingbat was sane to begin with, which might not be a safe assumption.

Hey, that’s not fair! I’m sane! I think. What does sane smell like? Anyways, I am certainly happy. The Human says that I should get a job as a happiness coach. Which, I believe, is exactly what Stressed needs. So there.

Fine, O Wise One, what is your sage advice?

Sage, I believe, is nice on turkey. Then again, turkey is nice pretty much any way, although cooked is even tastier than raw.

Yeah. Thanks for that. Were you going to tell Stressed something useful?

Yes! I have a plan! It has points, and numbers.

Do tell.

Point 1: Snacks. Snacks are always a good thing. Everyone is happier with snacks. But here is a thing to think about. Many times we play games with The Human where there are snacks for prizes. It is actually even funner to do the things and win the snacks than to just eat the snacks. Although just eating snacks is also good.

But that is a fair point. It is fun and engaging to learn new tricks, and when you are focused on that then you can’t think about anything else. Stressed might enjoy learning tricks along with eating snacks.

I recently learned a trick where I have to run a long ways away from the human to go sit on a bench, but I have to run past snacks to get there. That is very hard, and I do not necessarily recommend it if you are already stressed.

Probably Stressed would be happier with people tricks. The Human is learning to play the mandolin. But I think humans and dogs could all learn to balance things on their nose. Just one possibility.

OK, Point 2:

Learning new tricks was Point 2. This is Point 3.

Points with numbers is harder than I thought. Point 3: Making noise. I think it is good to make a lot of noise. I bark back at the neighbor dogs. Also when people walk past. And at squirrels. And also when I am just happy.

You are happy a lot.

That is exactly my point. Stressed should make noise. It exercises your lungs and deepens your breathing and is good for your immune system.

You just made that up. You don’t even know what an immune system is.

No, but I’m pretty sure I read it on the internet. Anyway, Stressed does not need to bark. Apparently there are people who are going out on their front porches to howl every evening. That would be fun. But also, The Human is fond of singing, and I think that is a nice way for humans to make noise.

Also laughing. Laughing is a good noise.

The best. Maybe laughing should be Point 4. Stressed should definitely find funny things and laugh loudly at them. The Human likes funny books and videos, but I notice that also she laughs a lot at me. I am a big helper in the laughter department.

Is there a Point 5? Five is a good number of points.

Yes! Point 5 is running around. I feel much better when I get to run around. Going for walks is nice, but it is much better when I don’t have to wear a leash and I can run and climb on stuff and sniff what I want.

Humans don’t generally wear leashes.

No, but they carry phones, which seem to tie them up and make them walk slowly. Stressed could maybe go out without the phone and have a little more freedom to run around.

What if they are not supposed to go outside the house?

Well, it is better to have lots and lots of space to run big circles in, but if you have to stay home there are other ways to play. Playing can be Point 6. It is fun to wrestle and tug and play bitey face. You can do that inside. If Stressed does not have dogs to wrestle and tug and play bitey face with, there are lots of human games. The Human has been playing games on the computer with human friends. These seem like very boring games to me, but she seems to like it.

Now there are six points. I’m not sure that six is the usual number for advice lists.

I am not a usual advice coach.

True fact.

But also, if seven is a better number, I will say that Stressed reached out to us for advice, and that staying in touch and asking for help is also a good plan. Ask for help is Point 7.

We like to help. Australian shepherds are particularly good at helping. Maybe Point 8 should be to help someone else.

I’m not sure you get to add points to my list, but that is actually a good point, and I will take it.

I think eight is also a good number for a list of points.

Good, because numbered lists are kind of exhausting. I think we should ask for a snack.

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5 thoughts on “Sheltering and Stressed

  1. I love hearing from you guys and I come back here when I need to lighten up. Thanks for your out-of-the-box perspective 🙂 Even your names make me smile. The other day I heard your Human talk about a dog with a different name whose personality sounded a lot like Dingbat’s. That made me wonder: do you two write your column under pen names?

    1. Yes, Wombat and Dingbat are our pen names. We have many names–official AKC names with lots of letters after that we have earned, and unofficial names like Bestie Beastie and Little Wiggly Dude, and names for when the Human disapproves that are Missy and Sir and names the Human uses in general conversation like Baby Girl and Bubba, but our official daily use names are Piper and Tesla.

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