Tag Archives: Pandemic

6 Tips to Help You Keep Your Dog After the Pandemic

Cassius, Zekie, and Baxter. Three of our dogs posing during a recent walk.

Did you adopt a dog during the pandemic to keep you company? Is your dog having trouble adapting as your life begins its return to normal? Then these tips are for you!

Here are some ways to help your dog adjust to his new normal as you return to the work world and leave him to spend more time on his own at home. For the purpose’s of this article, let’s call your dog Max, the number one dog name in America!

Tip #1Buy a crate and use it!

Crates can avert a host of behavioral problems. First off, you need to get Max used to his new crate before you leave him on his own in it. And don’t think keeping a dog in a crate is mean. Dogs are by nature animals that live in dens. If you introduce him to the crate properly, he will look at it like it is his bedroom and a comforting and safe place to be. Several of my dogs will go into their crates by choice and hang out with the door open. The crate may only need to be used during this transition period, it depends on the dog. You can find many articles on the web about how to get your dog used to his crate.

Tip #2-Get your dog used to spending time on his own.

Whether or not you are using a crate, Max needs to know that he can be alone and be ok. Leaving him to his own devices when he has had you there all the time is stressful. Get him used to it in steps. Leave him alone while you go talk to the neighbors for a few minutes. Drive down the road and come back. Go to the store for a few purchases and come home. Visit a friend for a couple hours. Don’t spring being alone for an entire work day on Max all at once. Give him time to adjust.

Tip #3-Give your dog something to do while you are gone.

Again, this holds true whether Max will be in a crate or not. If you suddenly found yourself alone in a room in the house, would you just sit there in the same place until someone returned? Neither will your dog. My favorite distractions for anxious dogs are Kongs. I have a bone shaped one with two hollow ends that I put peanut butter and baby carrots in. I also have the original sort of funnel shaped Kongs that I put dog biscuits and peanut butter in. I use pieces that are big enough so the dog has to really work to get them out. (Be sure your peanut butter does not contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs. I use natural.) You can also leave your dog with an assortment of toys, but be sure it is not something he will tear apart and ingest while you are away. Using a Kong Toy to Reduce Stress

Tip #4-Don’t make a big deal of your coming or going.

It should be a part of life, not a major event. If you make your leaving and return into a production, Max will see it as something worthy of having a big reaction to. You may not like his choice of reaction. So, treat your going away and coming back home again as a part of life. A pat on the head when you return home is ok, just don’t turn it into a party!

Tip #5-Make sure your dog is well exercised.

Remember, a tired dog is a good dog. 7 Ways to a Tired Dog Max is more likely to relax and take a nap while you are away if he is tired. Exercising him before you leave for the day is ideal, but exercise after you come home is still beneficial. See the link above for ways to tire Max out. The benefits of exercise before you leave are obvious. Exercising Max when you come home will let him relieve pent up energy from the day and give you both something to look forward to. And a dog exercised the evening before, is still more relaxed than a dog not exercised at all.

Tip #6-Have someone take your dog out while you are gone.

Everyone may not be able to do this. Your dog may not be trustworthy with others or you may not have anyone you trust that can help. But, if you can find someone to take Max out mid-day, it will provide a potty break and a chance to stretch his legs while you are gone. Do you have a responsible neighbor kid or senior citizen who would like to have some company and make a few dollars a week? This would be a win-win for everybody. Eight hours is a long day for a dog to spend alone, but it can be done if that is your only option. Be sure to get home right after work to let your dog out and give you both companionship, after all that’s why you adopted him.

In Conclusion:

I wrote this article to help keep dogs in their homes, and lessen their influx back into shelters and rescues as people return to their normal lives and the effects of the pandemic wane. Remember, Max provided you with loyalty and companionship during some dark days. Return his loyalty now and see him as he sees you, a member of the family.

There may be challenges as our lives change again, but you and Max can survive these together. I provided tips here that I think will help the most people. If you need more ideas and help, please email me at sheltiequeen1@yahoo.com with the subject line-Need Dog Advice. We have fostered more than 50 dogs over the years and I may have a few other tricks up my sleeve that I can share with you if you give me some specifics. No guarantees, just friendly advice.

Sometimes, we need to vent to work through stressful times, like dealing with Max as your lives both change. If you just need someone to lend an ear and hear what you are going through with your dog, I can do that too. There are times when knowing you are not alone, and others have been there and survived what you are going through, is enough.

The goal is to increase the number of dogs that get to stay in their homes!

How Many Variations Can You Come Up With For This Cookie Recipe?

Orange ginger cinnamon cookies
Orange, Ginger Cinnamon Cookies

I love this cookie recipe! I got it from Pinterest, the source of most of my new recipes. Click on the following link for it. Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter Recipe – The Frugal South Note that the recipe is not mine. The original recipe at the link above, is for snickerdoodles, but anyone who knows me, knows that I like to alter things.

I first found this recipe during the beginning of our state’s first stay at home order during the pandemic. I was looking for dessert recipes without butter because I was running low on it. This recipe uses oil instead of butter. The other great thing is, the recipe is easy! Always a plus. As the pandemic has dragged on, I have made many variations of this cookie and all have been delicious. One special note, which is pointed out on the link, do NOT over bake these cookies or they will get hard.

Some variations I have made on the original recipe follow. Add the ingredients in addition to those in the original recipe:

  • 1 box lemon jello, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1 Tablespoon milk (or almond milk), add almond slice on top
  • 1 box lime jello, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 box orange jello, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup oatmeal, 1 Tablespoon milk, and optional-1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa, 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter

Any of these variations could have the following added too:

  • chocolate chips, or any flavor chips
  • walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.
  • coconut
  • dried dates, apricots, craisins, raisins, etc.

I stopped adding the sugar and cinnamon mixture from the original snickerdoodle recipe to the top of each cookie, only to save time and make it easier. You could continue to do this, if you wanted.

snickerdoodle cookie recipe
Cookies fresh from the oven!

How many variations can you come up with for this recipe?

If you enjoyed this post, consider following my blog at one of the links on this page. Thanks for reading!

Are You Still Contemplating Where the New Year Is Going?

Garden Gate in Spring
Spring Time in Our Garden

On January 1st, I wrote Contemplation on a New Year. Now it is January 27. We have been through a Capitol Riot, other political upheaval, an inauguration, and continued deaths, infections, and societal closures to avoid virus spread due to the pandemic.

And yet, I feel like I am still waiting for the New Year to start. I feel like I got cheated out of last year too. Since last March, one day is much like the next for me. Getting up in the morning, drinking coffee, hanging out with dogs and hubby, reading a little. Late morning is for blogging, baking, or cleaning. Cleaning is always last on my list.

Lunch splits the day up for us. While we eat, we stream the television show My Name Is Earl. Earl is trying to make the world a better place by righting past wrongs he has committed. And boy, did he excel in the “wrongs” department. Trying to make the world a better place is a worthy goal though, so we persist in watching.

A couple hours of our afternoons consist of walking or hiking with the dogs. This has sometimes been tricky to pull off with the January weather. Our winter has been mild so far. We rotate our walking locations depending on the weather and day of the week. If the weather is dicey, we walk on the campground entrance nearby. It is plowed and rarely salted which is better for dog feet. By then, we require tea! And of course I must follow this with a little reading .

Late afternoon is time for a little more work of some sort. I pick a job or two from the list I keep and knock those out. Then it is time for supper, and tv, and more reading!

What is missing from my existence is family and friends. And so it is for many across our country, and indeed, the world. Until now, I was not able to imagine how much I would miss everyone. And the new people I have encountered through dog rescue, Facebook, and other ways. Some of you, I would have invited over and gotten to know better. I miss our yet to be forged closer friendships.

Many are in the same boat as me. Truth be told, I am luckier than most. I have the option to stay home without losing a job and everything else that would follow. I have dogs and cats and a spouse to pass my days with. I have a warm home, food, and lots of books. (I have been so much happier since I have figured out the selection system and curbside pickup at the library! E-books just don’t do it for me.)

I can’t wait until I am eligible to receive the Coronavirus vaccine. As soon as they tell me, I will be there! I know very few people who have received it so far. My mother-in-law did get her first dose this week. My own mother is long gone, so I don’t have to worry about her. (What I Chose to Do the Day My Mother Died, my most read post of all time!)

Looking back, I guess if I feel like I am still waiting for the New Year to start, that is on me. I need to do some things that make me feel productive and like time is moving forward. What are you doing to make 2021 into a good year? I would love to hear in the comments below.

A Bit of Pandemic Relief

Snowman
We can build a snowman

Today provided a bit of relief in my pandemic world. My husband and I drove up to visit my nieces and my brother and his wife. We met outside and stayed socially distant for a brief visit of about 40 minutes. This is Ohio and it was cold.

What do you do on an outdoor winter visit? You have a snowball fight and build a snowman! It was rejuvenating for me to watch the girls run and play, and to hear them laugh. The sound of their joyful laughter makes me laugh too.

The drive there took as long as the visit lasted but it was so worth it! And I scored a pack of hazelnut chocolate Oreos out of the deal. In my pre-Covid life when I would babysit the girls, I would always sample each of the flavors of Oreos on hand during my visit. Since it has been some time since I have been able to deplete my brother’s stock, he gave me some Oreos. No wonder I love him. (Truth be told, I would love him even if he were Oreo-less. Don’t tell!)

It was great to see my sister-in-law too. She is so nice and kind and thoughtful. God, I miss her.

I am blessed to have wonderful family that I truly enjoy spending time with. For now, that time must come in bits and pieces, but this will not always be so. Next goal, see my wonderful daughter. I am missing her too.

But for today, building a snowman and having a snowball fight is enough. Take joy where you can find it.

You Can Make the World a Better Place

Good luck with that!

This meme came across my Facebook feed this morning. And while at first glance, it looks like a good idea, it is not a viable option for any of us. We have all been struggling because of the ongoing and increasing outbreaks of the coronavirus. And now our country, the good, old US of A is in political distress in a way that it never has been before. Just when I thought things could not get any worse, here we are. (Giving you something positive here Good Things in a Pandemic World ).

My ever problem solving mind insists that I try to find a way to fix this. Realistically, I realize that I can not fix this. But surely there are things that we can do to make the world a better place. I will list a few things that I have come up with to make the world a little more pleasant for at least a few people. Maybe you can join me and we can improve our corner of the world for a handful of folks. It is a start. And a small change can make ripples that chart a new course.

  1. Call, text, or email a friend, family member, or acquaintance that is isolated and/or could use cheering up. We can all benefit from a little more contact from our fellow human beings these days. You may save someone from thoughts of despair. Or, you may just make someone’s day happier. Either is a win.
  2. Send a letter or card with the same intent as above. Everyone loves to get mail. The written word can be read over and over to extend that feeling
  3. Smile at people and be kind when you go out in public. We don’t see others much these days but even curbside pickup gives an opportunity for interaction. With your mask on, a smile still extends to your eyes. And a few kind words delivered along with a thank you can make everyone feel happier. The recipient and the giver.
  4. Cut people some slack. We are all under extra stress. People forget things, and get grumpy and snap. Be kind. We’ve all been there.
  5. Try to understand other people’s point of view. You don’t have to agree with it. But trying to understand keeps us all human.
  6. Adopt a pet. This will make the world a better place for the animal. (Make sure you can make a lifetime commitment to the animal so its world continues to be better!) You will likely be happier and feel a sense of purpose. And as for making other people happier, I’m sure those shelter or rescue people will be having a better day too!
  7. Pray for those you can’t help. Feelings of goodwill are certain to benefit them and you.
  8. Share. Numbers 1 through 7 involve feelings and goodwill in one form or another. If you can’t get to that point yet, share something physical. Donate clothing or other items to a homeless shelter. Donate food. Share books that you have read. If you want to remain totally hands-off, donate money by mail or on-line.

None of these actions is earth shattering. They are all relatively easy to do. You may think that none of them will change the world, but who are we to say? Kind words at a pivotal time can affect a person’s life altering decision. And that person could in turn have an affect on another’s life altering choice. And so on.

It is especially important to be kind in these unprecedented times. Just take the next right, or in this case, kind, step. Peace be with you.

Books Read December 2020 (The Blessing of Books in a Pandemic World)

The blessing of books in a pandemic world.
The Blessing of Books in a Pandemic World

Getting library books turned into more of a challenge this month due to the increased number of Covid cases in this pandemic world. My local library has once again had to shut its doors to the public, but I persevered. I was still able to get books by doing searches, placing the books on hold, and picking them up at the library’s drive thru window. And so I was able to get a new supply of books. That feeling of driving home with a new bag of books on the seat beside me never gets old. My reads for the month follow.

1. From Alaska With Love-Ally James

Sara develops a relationship writing to a soldier stationed overseas. Will things work out when he comes state side, or will the reality be too much? A fun read.

2. The Summer Deal-Jill Shalvis

Brynn strives to make a new life for herself after surviving a breakup. She moves back to her hometown and rekindles relationships with family and friends. I love anything written by Shalvis.

3. Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies-Vicky Zimmerman

Kate Parker’s nearly 40 year old life is going down the tubes. She begins volunteering at a home for old ladies. The friendship she makes with one of them changes her life.

4. Sealed Off-Barbara Ross

A murder mystery that takes place on an island in Maine. The Snowden family business is to put on clambakes. Relations between two of the employees go bad, or do they? A hidden room is also involved.

5. The Jane Austen Society-Natalie Jenner

This is a book about a group of people who become friends through their love for Jane Austen and her works. There was a lot of groundwork to lay so it took me a while to get into the book. It was well worth reading to get to the surprise ending.

6. One Thousand Gifts-Ann Voskamp (Non-fiction)

I only read a chapter and a half of this book. The writer talks about life struggles and described them so well that they were quite painful and stuck in your mind. Making you feel is the sign of a good writer and I’m thinking she over comes her problems given the title of the book. It is not the kind of book that I want to read right now with a pandemic going on. I may return to it sometime in the future.

Of this group of books, the one that is going to stick with me is #3) Miss Cecily’s Recipe for Exceptional Ladies. It shows the beauty of new and unexpected friendships and how they can improve our lives.

Happy New Year, fellow readers. Hoping your 2021 is a wonderful year and that your blessings exceed your expectations.

Hanging out with Claire waiting for better times.

Better Times Are Coming!

Hanging out with Claire while waiting for better times.
Hanging out with Claire while waiting for better times.

I have spent a lot of time recently focusing on how to survive in a pandemic world. In retrospect, most of these ideas are good to apply to our lives in general. But most of us are searching for extra help and guidance right now. When we are spending so much more time and energy just to slog through our daily lives, there is little left over for getting beyond that. See my post giving you some ideas on how to cope. My Top 10 Ways to Deal With Isolation During the Covid Pandemic!

Rather than offer more ideas on how to cope, I would like to offer some words of comfort here. Life is cyclical. There will be good times and there will be bad times. Neither will last forever. The trick is in remembering that. The ecstasy that we feel when we are just married or newly in love, is a beautiful thing. We need to cherish moments like these as they occur. They are a positive experience that we can put into our emotional bank account. Something to draw on and relive when times are tougher. Because they will get tougher.

I think of life experiences as a mathematical sine curve. Positive and negative events go up and down balancing each other out. If time are rough, I think of the curve and know that they will swing up again. Life is not static. Times will get better.

I think it is safe to say that times and events are in a low part of the curve right now. Life is harder for almost everyone. I can’t imagine anyone that Covid 19 has not touched in some way. Those who have become ill or lost a loved are the most affected. But others’ lives have altered too. Businesses have lost income, people have lost jobs. Something so common as going out in public to get food has become a changed thing. There are now masks, sanitizers, and social distance to consider. Nothing is as easy as it used to be. Even when my husband and I take our pack of dogs out for a hike, we worry when a fellow hiker passes. How close did they get? Were they breathing heavily and expelling lots of breathe? Is the air movement good? We carry masks with us and use them as we deem they are necessary.

Hiking with Dogs
Hiking with Dogs

I feel confident that we are at a low point on the curve now so that means that things are going to get better. The roll out of a vaccine is a stepping stone to moving on to better times. Hold on a little longer, better times are coming. I will offer one coping mechanism here that can be used to get you through. Rather than wallowing in the negativity of our current low, spend time thinking about the blessings to come. Make plans for them. I made a previous post about that here. Coping Mechanisms

Our lives will be changing again, mostly for the better. We will be able to safely go out in public again. Not all at once, but each step along the way will be a return to normalcy. We will congregate with friends and family members again. We will share hugs, and I know mine will be long ones! I can see these times in my mind’s eye, even now. Hang on, I know you can do it.

Until then, good health and peace be with you.

My Top 10 Ways to Deal With Isolation During the Covid Pandemic!

Journal to record ideas
Little Journal of Ideas for Post-Covid!

I think all of us have reached the point where we are thoroughly tired of Covid 19 and its effect on our lives. I know many have it worse than me, those who have suffered losses of loved ones, personal illnesses, and financial woes. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t have valid feelings of sadness and emotional distress as we struggle to make it to the post-pandemic world. So I am sharing with you, some of my coping mechanisms.

  1. Keep a Journal

Mine is a journal of things that I want to do, but can’t right now for some reason as a result of the coronavirus. Here is a link to what is in my journal. Ways To Deal With a Pandemic That way I won’t miss out on things I wanted to do but couldn’t at the time. You could also keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings during isolation. Whatever suits you.

2. Get Outside and Enjoy Nature

Winter Landscape
The View Along One of our Walking Routes

Nature has a way of healing us that defies explanation, but it is proven to make you feel better. Surrounding yourself with plants, trees, and wildlife can bring a sense of peace. I find something magical about knowing that the greater world around me goes on, no matter what is happening in my life.

3. Exercise

Exercise can help relieve stress at any time so it’s no surprise that it will work during a pandemic too. I combine my exercise with #2 above and hike or walk in nature. We attempt to take our dogs for a hike at least five days a week. If we are running late, the dogs let us know that it is time. They look forward to the outings too. People may be missing their gym workouts these days, but you can always walk. Just find a secluded area and keep your mask handy.

4. Train Your Dog (or cat if you’re ambitious!)

These may be trying times for us but our four legged friends are enjoying that extra time we spend around the house. Give them some extra attention and brush up on their obedience skills or teach them a trick. It will strengthen your relationship and the two of you will come out of this closer than before.

5. Read

If you know me, you knew this was going to be on my list! Reading can take you away to other places and teach you something in the process. You can read non-fiction and learn about new things or places in our world. Or you can read fiction and get sucked into a good story. Either way, reading occupies your mind so that you escape for a bit from your current reality which can be a real treat in these trying times.

6. Take a Nap (Get extra Sleep)

The act of sleep rests your body and mind so that you are better able to deal with whatever comes your way. Also, if you are stuck on the “worry train” and distressing what ifs, or actual bad times, keep playing through your thoughts, sleep can break that cycle and reset your brain.

7. Work on a Hobby

Fun Breadsticks
Candy Cane Shaped Breadsticks for Christmas Dinner

Hobbies, especially artistic ones, occupy us so that it is hard to think about anything besides what you are currently doing. One of my hobbies is cooking. I especially like to bake and kneading bread dough is soothing to me. Working and shaping the dough is fun. I was working on breadsticks for Christmas. They got too long to fit on the baking sheet and as I was turning the end to make it fit, I thought that reminds me of a candy cane. So I made all the breadsticks in the shape of candy canes just to be festive.

8. Watch a Movie (especially comedy)

How often does anyone encourage you to spend more time watching television? In this case I think it is warranted. Letting yourself become absorbed into someone else’s life, especially in a positive scenario, may provide you with some mental benefits as you escape this Covid riddled world for a while.

9. Make a Phone Call to a Friend or Family Member

We can all feel a little lonely in these times of social isolation. Even me, and I don’t generally mind being by myself and am not a phone call kind of girl. I usually avoid the telephone and am often happy to spend time by myself. (For me, by myself means with dogs.) I have been making an attempt to keep in touch by phone with family members. And I make more effort to text and message friends. You may be helping other people when you reach out, because we are all in this together.

10. Don’t Give Yourself a Hard Time

We are all doing the best we can. You may find yourself being a little short tempered or down in the dumps, and not doing as well as you normally do. Cut yourself some slack. These are not normal times.

And in closing, be aware that there is light at the end of the tunnel! We still need to socially distance and wear our masks for a while longer. But the end is in sight. People are being vaccinated right this very minute. You have been strong enough to make it this far so you are up to the task of surviving what we need to do for the rest of this ride.

You are not alone!

Ways To Deal With a Pandemic

Surviving a pandemic is hard. Even if you aren’t sick. You have to socially distance and practice isolation as much as possible.

I have not been inside a grocery store since the beginning of March. Thank goodness for curbside pick up. And thank you to the shoppers who make it possible. There are many things I miss.

See that little notebook? It is how I cope. Every time I want to do something but realize that I can’t because there is a pandemic going on, I write what I wanted to do in the notebook.

Our memories are short. I don’t want to miss out on anything and I will surely forget some things. Now I have a record of them. I have a post-pandemic list of desires and goals ready and waiting for me.

It helps me to feel that I am not missing out. I just can’t do these things right now. But they are on my list.

Some examples

  • Spend time with my nieces (again & again!)
  • Invite various friends over to spend time on the patio
  • Spend an afternoon at the library
  • Resume yoga

Your list may have different activities. But take heart dear ones, these restrictions will not last forever. One day we will be able to start work on our lists.

Peace to you.