Last April, I was adjusting to working from home. My three at home coworkers are Miss Lady (15 ½ years old), New Dog (10 years old) and Asher (3 years old). They are all traumatized rescue mutts with difficult and unknown backgrounds. During the pandemic they disrupted Zoom meetings, barked through Book Group and met most of McArthur Library’s knitting group on screen. They were also the best Covid companions a gal could want!

Throughout the pandemic, pet adoptions skyrocketed! According to the Washington Post, some shelters saw a 30-40 percent increase. While that is great news for needy animals there is concern that as things begin to reopen and people return to in person workspaces, pets may suffer. Now that McArthur Library is open to the public (by appointment), I am away from home more. Two of my furry friends returned to the work routine and one did not.

My youngest dog, Asher, was rescued from death row at a kill shelter in Texas. While I will never know his background, I am fairly certain he had some pretty significant issues in his young life. Humans fiddle with cuffs or bite their nails when tense and most people can usually pick up on their non-verbal cues. Dogs show similar signs of stress, but we humans may miss their communication. Asher self-soothes by nursing and nibbling on blankets, pillows and duvets. He also shuts down when I begin getting ready for work, curling into small spaces, showing only his back and avoiding eye contact. It is sad to watch. While the other two dogs happily lick peanut butter from their Kong toys, Asher sits alone and forlorn, disinterested in food or a goodbye cuddle. This can be a very clear sign of anxiety. So, I’ve often turned to a vet friend, Dr. T, to seek advice and he graciously agreed to answer your questions as well.

On Thursday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Matthew Townsend, DVM, (Dr. T) will be virtually at McArthur Library to answer your pet questions via Zoom. Feel free to email questions in advance to [email protected] Dr. T grew up on a small dairy farm in coastal Maine. He graduated with a DVM from Auburn University and served as president of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association and the New England Veterinary Medical Association. In his spare time he cares for his herd of Alpaca! Pre-register for the talk via the link on the library’s website.

In case you missed our cool Pet Month programs, they can be found on our social media (Facebook & Instragram) and McArthur Library’s YouTube channel. If you would like to come in to browse, please call 571-7207 for a 30-minute appointment.

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