Back to the office | Your dog is not ready

(New York) Look at that face, that pitying eyes, that nose that accompanies you to the pandemic. Now explain to Cooper why this is so, it’s so important that you go back to the office, leave him alone all day, after two years of going around the clock.

Posted on June 5th

John Leland
The New York Times

For what? Spirit company?

Todd McCormick, a derivatives trader on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, decided he wouldn’t do it. “I don’t think I can go back to an office anymore,” he said. As he spoke, his 13-year-old dog, Higgins, asked for medicine.

Of course, many New Yorkers have long since returned to their workplaces, if not stopped going. But for those contemplating this change now, and for their dogs, a decisive day has come.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 23 million American households adopt a cat or dog during a pandemic, and many of those animals never know what it feels like to be abandoned. -alone all day. They took pictures of the meetings Zooming, typed mysterious messages on their masters ’laptops, and found other ways to contribute to the shared work environment. For many people, dogs are just another living thing around, acting as a therapist, companion and entertainment system.

Now, their employers want them to hand it over.

Bad luck, according to Mr. McCormick, who didn’t even pretend to delay Higgins ’cookie satisfaction.


Todd McCormick and his dog, Higgins

If I take out the trash or the recycling or pick up my letter, he’ll scream like a Costa Rican monkey, and it looks like there’s a murder in my house.

Todd McCormick with his dog Higgins

It describes behavior that has only emerged since the onset of the pandemic. “He knew I would be gone in three minutes, but that didn’t stop me from listening to him until I got off the elevator. »

McCormick has all but stopped at frequent restaurants and has not taken a vacation since the pandemic began, mostly to avoid separating his dog.

“But I have to tell you, after all, he’s been a wonderful partner,” she said.

Dogs living in city apartments have to constantly adapt to less favorable conditions, but going back to work means thousands of people will suddenly go through the same shift at the same time, according to Kate Senisi. , director of training at the School for the Dogs in Manhattan’s East Village. “We’ve received a lot of divorce cases,” he said.

Dogs that were routinely left alone before the pandemic are more likely to adapt quickly, he said. “But when it comes to pandemic puppies” —dogs born and adopted during the pandemic— “they have never been abandoned, and now they are in a sensitive age, adolescence,” he said. “It can be very difficult. They need to be taught these new skills. »

Training Tip: Don’t give your dog this special toy when you leave, as the toy can be a distress trigger.

Pam Reid, vice president of the ASPCA’s behavioral science team, says dogs that suddenly find themselves without their handler can feel “confused, alone, and wondering why everyone is in such a hurry. going out the door instead of spending time at home ”. He recommends short training breaks before the big return to work, and scheduling walks and meals in the upcoming work schedule.

“Make sure you’re on the lookout for signs of anxiety as you prepare to leave, such as footsteps of nerves and breathing, singing or trying to leave with you,” he added.

Such signs are very familiar to Millet Israeli, a psychotherapist living in Chelsea. Since the pandemic, this depressing behavior has become part of the daily routine for Milton and Rufus, both a mix of poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, called cavapoos by their devotees.


Millet Israeli and his two dogs, Milton and Rufus

If MME The Israeli and her husband left the apartment at the same time, the dogs announcing their disapproval, she said. “I mean an overturned trash can, an overturned bowl, they might not be able to use the pads we left at home if they had to go to the toilet, for example.»

As a therapist, M.ME Israelis view separation anxiety as a “two-way street.” Does he feed the anxiety of his dogs? Or more accurately, did he show his own concern for animals?

His solution: eliminate separation. Now she takes them to her office, where they are sometimes part of her therapy sessions, which are mostly virtual.

“In many ways, I neglected myself,” he admits. I wouldn’t tell a parent struggling with the anxiety of their child’s separation to do that. »

Many tech companies, including Amazon, Google, Squarespace and Etsy, welcomed dogs into some of their workplaces even before the pandemic, and other companies have since made exceptions to attract and keep employees going, according to Andy. Challenger, senior vice president of investment firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. Dogs are often put on probation and sometimes have to stay on a leash. A bite often results in expulsion; for smaller sins, the greater the length.

But Challenger thinks the trend may not last long.

Meanwhile, the real anxiety of the separation may be due to the owners, not the animals. Raf Astor, who watches and walks dogs in the East Village, says the dogs he sees fit very well with the change. But for humans, he says, “most of these dogs have become emotional support animals. Now, when they have to leave their dog, most of the anxiety comes from the owner, not the dog. It’s this that pandemic gives anyone with a slight neurosis a license to indulge in their neurosis.And dogs are, in a way, exempt from that.

This article was originally published in The New York Times.

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