I haven’t been keeping up with my blog. I haven’t felt much like writing. I haven’t updated my business’s website to add Aoife as our ‘newest employee’. So much has changed so quickly. These are strange and scary times now so it’s hard to carry on as though the world is normal. Because it’s not.
It began to shift on its axis in early March when two of my clients requested their training package be put on hold. One explained that her husband traveled internationally for work and didn’t want me exposed to anything he might have inadvertently brought back with him. I appreciated her thoughtfulness. Another explained she was nervous and wanted to see what would happen. I appreciated her honesty. But then, one of my clients texted to say she was in quarantine, awaiting her test results because her patient had tested positive for Covid-19 and was in the ICU.
And then, literally, just like that, my business world fell apart. Governor Sununu announced a “stay at home” order. I had to email all my remaining scheduled clients that we’d be in a holding pattern until further notice; however, if they wanted a refund for any remaining sessions, I understood and please let me know. Every single one of my clients opted for the hold… two of them even emailed back to say, “We’d like to prepay for our next session, in an effort to sustain you.” I was deeply touched.
Now at home, I continue to keep the same schedule I had when I was seeing clients. Early mornings I walk my crew. Next, there’s some light gardening and yard cleanup, then I head off “to work”. (Translated, this means I climb the stairs to my sewing room.) Finn is left in the kitchen, Aoife, her x-pen, per usual. But Enzo gets to come with me. He’s a low maintenance co-worker, either curling up in a ball or laying stretched out on his side, snoring softly at times, while I stitch and listen to my audiobook. Then, somewhere between 11:00 and 11:30 we “head home”– down the stairs to be greeted joyfully by the other two. Out into the backyard we go to stroll and jump and potty and sniff. Then, back inside for lunch and training.
This has worked out exceedingly well. I have finished a quilt I started, then put aside in order to make a baby quilt, when I learned my daughter was pregnant. I intend to keep going with this plan and finish the few *cough* okay, several kits I’ve ordered over the past few years. It feels good to be productive. It’s also satisfying to complete a project. But. Yes, there’s that but…
But it still feels surreal. It’s still feels different. Something is off. A friend said, “There’s nothing to look forward to…” and at first I didn’t understand what she meant. Now, I do. I was looking forward to Aoife’s first ORT (odor recognition trial) in May with the National Association of Canine Scent Work. It was cancelled. I was looking forward to Aoife’s first trials in AKC Scent Work, Novice Interiors and Novice Containers in June. It’s been rescheduled tentatively for late fall. I was looking forward to Tracking with Enzo and all our friends at the Tracking Club of Massachusetts. I had high hopes of getting him certified this summer, maybe even entering a trial in the fall. But, as with everything else, all practices been put on hold- and there’s no definitive end in sight. That’s unsettling.
And I miss my clients. I miss the dogs. I miss the laughter, the joy, and the camaraderie that goes hand-in-hand with teaching, training, and working towards a goal. But most of all, I miss the stories. The stories I told at night at the dinner table– the funny ones that made us laugh because a client became the squirrel and her dog went running back to her. The happy stories that split our faces with grins from ear-to-ear because there was a break-through in training and Tonka pranced happily over that bridge that had terrified her. I even miss the sad stories because they made us pause, think, and reflect.
Stories can help us to be kinder, more thoughtful people. They aid learning and give depth to our lives, teaching us what it means to be human, humane, and alive. These are strange and scary times, but if we share our stories with one another, I think… no, I believe that we will make it through this to the other side. Our stories will help us to frame the journey and give meaning to the experience. I hope and pray Dear Friends there’s a happy ending to your story.