By Julia Furmanek

As a kid, my favorite games to play were ones that involved “living” through historical events. Sometimes I was struggling through the Irish Potato Famine, with rocks from the street as makeshift rotten potatoes, or I was battling in the Revolutionary War in my backyard. 

My most frequent moments of choice, however, were ones that involved plagues. My next door neighbor and I frequently fought over who got to be the doctor in the midst of some far-off epidemic set in an ambiguous time which predated the miracles of modern medicine. I can safely say I’m living through history now, and it is certainly not a game. 

Quarantine sucks. Massive surges in unemployment suck. And for those essential workers out there risking their health to keep things from falling apart, this situation absolutely sucks. But, it’s here. And it’s real. 

For many of us, the greatest contribution we can make comes in the form of compliance; staying home and waiting out this catastrophe. If you’re like me and struggle with any form of uncertainty, this is a tough place to be in.

There is hope though, and he weighs three pounds. My dog Oscar has no conception of coronavirus whatsoever, and he stays at home every day of the week. Among all the noise I encounter online and on the news about the crisis, his perspective is one I’ve decided to embrace. 

To Oscar, quarantine means spending every waking hour with me. It means extra scraps from the kitchen, as my mom has started cooking constantly. Quarantine means laying in the pool of sunshine shining from the window, sleeping whenever he wants to and extra long walks with the humans, so eager to get out.

In the depressing fog of confinement, the wag of Oscar’s tail and the excitement he exhibits from seeing me helps me remember what’s great in the basics. I exist, I have food to eat and there is sunshine coming in from the window. If this is enough for him, why can’t it be for me? 

For those of you understandably struggling to find some semblance of joy in this moment, try thinking about your pets. What does sitting on the lawn mean to them? It’s not some desperate attempt to escape the house, but an opportunity. The lawn is a place full of sounds, smells and things to wonder about. How much entertainment lives in the simple pleasures we’ve overlooked in the rushed lives we used to live? 

That’s just something to think about. But, if you’re not in a place to get philosophical, now or ever, animals can be very cute and cuteness is it’s own medicine. Eye bleach was made for times like these.

So, if you don’t have a real live fur baby to keep you distracted in these trying moments, turn to the internet. An abundance of teacup pigs, frogs in hats and tiny dogs await you.