What’s Better Than a Big Ham Dinner and a Basket Full of Candy?

It was a far-from-traditional Easter/Passover weekend, with families celebrating quietly in small nuclear units, rather than together in big beloved dining rooms with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.

This is the first major holiday that the coronavirus has taken from us, and we began to get a glimpse of the sadness we face as proms, graduations, weddings, and likely more holidays are cancelled or modified drastically because of the urgent need to stay separate from each other. This is not something we’re accustomed to in our society – we operate in packs, and love the energy and the joy we get from being together.

But we’re resilient, too, when we have to be.  So, when we’re told we have to stay at home, we adjust. And hopefully, we learn to find the joy in, and despite, this new temporary existence.

This past weekend, my son and his fiancée (they were supposed to get married in June; theirs is one of the aforementioned weddings that’s been upended thanks to Covid-19) did something that thousands of families in the US have decided to do in the last several weeks to make their stay-at-home lives more joyful: they adopted a pet.

It made sense for them – they’re both working from home, and found themselves suddenly in possession of the time, the patience, and the presence to establish a routine that can make the difference between a well-adjusted pet and one with behavioral issues that can arise from a lack of attention. And the payback will be priceless. What they’ll get back once they’ve made that investment is unconditional love that lasts a lifetime… which is exactly why it’s not a consideration they took lightly.

While shelters are delighted that adoptions have gone through the roof over the last month, they are also bracing for a possible backlash effect from this period of time – both in terms of animals who have to be surrendered because their owners become ill as infection rates rise, or because their new adoptive parents didn’t fully consider the commitment to care that would be required after we’re all back to a more normal lifestyle.

But for the moment, shelters and rescuers have adapted to the call for companionship by offering online screening for potential adopters, remote introductions of pets looking for homes and, eventually, if all the lights stay green, curbside adoption pickups.

My kids turned to a rescue organization close to their home to find their perfect match (Ruff Tails Rescue, in Chelmsford), and they went through all of the above – the process was easy and thorough. I’m so proud of the way they considered the decision. Adopting a dog has always been part of their long-term plan, so they asked themselves all the right questions. They plan on implementing some “separation training,” so that when they do return to work, the dog will know how to behave and know that they’re coming back. And, with this act of love, they’ve taken the turmoil surrounding what was supposed to have been their wedding year and refused to let it sadden them, accepting the postponement with grace and instead building joy into their here-and-now.

And how happy it was yesterday not to focus on the lack of a big family get-together, or be sad over the cancellation of a dress fitting, but instead to watch via Facetime as their sweet little Sadie ran back and forth between them, covering them both with kisses as if to say, “Thank you for picking me!” You can tell just by watching her interact with them that she knows she’s been rescued, and she knows she’s finally home.

So I’m a Grandma – again! Sadie joins her cousins, my daughters’ cats Noodle, Ollie, and Mitzi, and her great uncle, my son- in-law-to-be’s aging but still-peppy-when-it-comes-to-snacktime schnauzer, Jack, as an already much-loved addition to our growing extended tribe. And Easter/Passover 2020 will definitely go down in the books as one of our family’s most joyous, coronavirus or not.

If your family thinks that maybe the time is right to add a pet to your home, and if you know you have the time and the means to care for a new family member, the Centerville MSPCA is ready and willing to help! Join us on Tuesday mornings for Tuesday’s Tail at 7:10 a.m., with Rebecca Romo, on Feel Good Mornings on 99.9 The Q; Waggin’ Wednesday at 8:45 a.m. with That Girl in the Morning, Cat Wilson, on Cape Country 104; and Happy Tails on Thursday mornings at 7:40 a.m., with Dave Read, on Ocean 104.7 to meet a potential new addition to your own clan.

All these features are made possible thanks to Agway of Cape Cod, who’ll be a great partner in keeping your new fur-ball happy and healthy, and you can check out complete pet profiles on all these adoptable animals at Cape Cod.com. Have a joyful adoption story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Email me at CherylPark@CCBMedia.com.

By Cheryl Park



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