Staying at home more has definitely gotten to many of us.
For some, it has been a time of personal growth and reflection; for others, it has been a time of bad at-home haircuts and binge-watching television shows like nobody’s business.
I don’t claim my time to be one way or the other, but what I do claim is that I made a wildly unusual online purchase, and I don’t regret it at all.
I bought my dog a pet stroller.
You see, as I was cooped up in the house -- lusting after the excitement of travel again -- I also started thinking of the sweet little guy snoring on the floor down below me and how he’s spent the majority of his life at home and indoors.
Lately, the sweet little guy in question, my English bulldog named Pig, had been spending substantially more time out on his potty breaks, pausing a bit longer to enjoy the wind on his smooshed snout and taking extended whiffs of the grass.
I had taken curious notice, and it made me wonder what life was really like for Pig.
Any English bulldog owner will tell you, it’s not always easy having the chubby, gassy and infection-prone pups. Trips to the vet for them can often outnumber any hypochondriac’s in the human world.
In the case of Pig, his chronic paw infections had defied any and all attempts to heal them long-term, which resulted in trouble walking long distances.
Coupled with his breed’s reputation for breathing problems -- as well as his stubborn stance that leashes are degrading, so he refuses to walk on one -- let’s just say Pig’s typically been more of an indoor dog. Of course, he’s always up for a game of tug-of-war or fetch in the comfort of his own home.
But now, as his humans were home 24/7, this appeared to all be changing. His contentment for the indoors appeared to transform into perpetual boredom, only alleviated when outside.
I was feeling a bit cabin-feverish at that time, and I came to the conclusion that he might be feeling the same way. Although walks hardly existed with Pig, I knew I needed to find an outdoor activity that was enjoyable for us both.
And then the idea came to me.
Both my boyfriend and I had been looking to get outside and exercise more and had found ourselves taking regular walks through town; I realized that if Pig wasn’t willing to walk with us, then maybe he’d be down to roll.
A few clicks and $200 later (when lugging a 55-pound boulder around, you can’t cheap out) a stroller was on its way.
One week later, Pig promptly greeted a knock at the front door and discovered his new set of wheels. And before long, he was majestically cruising the streets like a flappy-cheeked king being pushed among his peasants.
I’ll admit, my boyfriend and I had to brush off a bit of embarrassment at first. We realized it wasn’t everyday that folks see a country ham being pushed around town in a stroller.
However, we soon started to notice that after Pig's stroller rides he became even more affectionate toward us and calmer in his day-to-day life.
The benefits of stroller rides have been so overwhelming that they’ve become an almost daily occurrence with Pig. The word ‘stroller’ even has the ability to awaken him from a deep, thundering snore-fest.
So as it turns out, my wildly unusual quarantine purchase wasn’t that crazy after all. And along with helping me and my boyfriend lose a few pounds, it’s made the sweetest little guy become even sweeter.
Bria Barton is a Travel and Tourism reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer and Forum Communications Co.