Pandemic brings people closer to their pets

COVID-19 has exacted an awful toll on our lives, but it's also given us more quality time with our animals

Ella Rosenblatt
EXPLORING AROUND: Me, my sister, an my dog have become a trio since quarantine started. We have been exploring all around the neighborhood, including the drainage tunnels. Photo by Ella Rosenblatt.

Olivia Allen, Thea Cahoon, Sophia Dawson, Olive Embry, Anna Nagle, Charlie Partheymuller, Lauren Potts, Lydia Reedy, Liliana Rodriguez, Ella Rosenblatt, Amelie Ruggero, Jonah Scott, Angus Sewell McCann, Regan Sims, Camille Wilson, and Annabel Winter

McCallum photojournalists created 113 award-winning images in the 2020 Working Assumption WRKXFMLY Project. Many of them touched on how people in our community are living day to day during a pandemic, and while many of these images are serious, at times heroic even, there emerged in the collection a clear silver lining, and the observance last week of National Dog Day reminded us of this positive aspect of the pandemic. The days becoming weeks becoming months of quarantine have kept us closer to our four-legged friends and that they and we have been richer for the sustained proximity. This collection of award-winning images leaves absolutely no doubt about that truth.

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR: Passing the time has mainly consisted of indoor activities. Luckily, the barn that I ride at has not shut down so we get out to the country three times a week. This image shows my mom and my curious Azteca horse, August. Photo by Amelie Ruggero.

A DOG’S VIEW: As my whole family is home all the time my parents need different places to work to take calls and such. My dad has chosen to work from our garage and our dog Leo has become his work buddy. Photo by Charlie Partheymuller.

A PLEASANT SURPRISE: On a mini-break during his workday, my dad picks up our dog and dances with him around our craft room. This room has become a makeshift mask making room for my mom. She was trying to focus on cutting fabric for masks but definitely didn’t mind the distraction. Photo by Lydia Reedy.

A WARM WELCOME: As Natalie Rusk walks into her home, Chico, our family dog sits waiting. Natalie is a doctor who is working hard in the midst of the corona outbreak, and the dogs seem to really miss her during her long hours working. “It puts an immediate smile on my face to see Chico sitting there,” Natalie says, “I too missed him immensely.” Photo by Liliana Rodriguez.

BATH TIME FOR BELLA: In this picture, my brother Logan is giving my dog Bella a shower. Bella does not like getting wet so bathing her is always a challenge. During quarantine, we have been spending a lot more time with Bella. Bella normally gets taken into the pet store to get bathed but due to quarantine Logan was tasked with getting her cleaned! Photo by Lauren Potts.

BEE-ING UNIQUE: Bees to us are more than just an insect or bug, they’re borderline family. They pollinate our plants, making them grow faster, and provide us with delicious honey. We only have a few bees, only about 250,000 of them. These “Farmhands” are our best friends, and we help them out as much as we can. Photo by Jonah Scott.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: This is probably my favorite animal in my family and his name is Samson. I decided to take this picture because it shows how I’ve been spending time with family. Photo by Olivia Allen.

One silver lining of this pandemic has been spending day after day with my dog by my side. Or maybe I am by his side. Photo by Annabel Winter.

EASTER FUN: My best friend didn’t have enough resources to take care of their dog, Ruby, so I offered to dog sit her at my house. Ruby is a German Shepherd mix, and she’s super sweet. On Easter Sunday, I was playing with confetti on my back porch with her. Photo by Regan Sims.

EXPLORING AROUND: Me, my sister, an my dog have become a trio since quarantine started. We have been exploring all around the neighborhood, including the drainage tunnels. Photo by Ella Rosenblatt.

OFF TO WORK: My father, Dr. Ruggero, is an emergency medicine doctor so covid is directly effecting him. In this photo he is saying goodbye to our little old man, Honey Bear. Photo by Amelie Ruggero.

READING BUDDY: This is an image of my dad reading his novel for his 1930s literature class with our cat Joon besides him. My dad is a professor at Austin Community College and always has a book in his hand. When he heard about COVID-19 he knew that he had to start doing more work in the house that would take away from spending time with Joon. Joon wasn’t too happy about that. Photo by Sophia Dawson.

REMINDER: My stepmother is a forgetful person. We have four cats. Bad combo. But since she’s the one that is most often home, she is in charge of feeding all of them. She has a sticky note that she pins to the wall to remind herself when she last fed them. Photo by Anna Nagle.

SUNSET WALKS: Over quarantine, my sister and I have been taking walks at sunset and going to pick flowers since we can no longer buy them from the grocery store. On this night the sunset was particularly amazing. Photo by Ella Rosenblatt.

THE OFFICE: My mom’s office is a small one-room office that we had built behind our house for her to work. You see, my parents run a business together, but they work and live separately because they are not married anymore. They are both good friends and all but it still astounds me that they can still pull off running a business together after a divorce. My mom is seen here holding her new boyfriend’s dog that she has kind of adopted as she works. Photo by Angus Sewell McCann.

TV NIGHTS: We have started watching TV shows as a family at night, something we had never done before. After long days of work and school, watching a couple episodes of a TV show before bed is a perfect way to end the day. Photo by Thea Cahoon.

WORK BUDDY: Being stuck inside all day has its perks when furry friends are in the house. With our cats and dog around, we always have company, even during the boring work days. Photo by Camille Wilson.

DOG DAYS: Tired after a long day of work, my dad lies down with the dogs. Photo by Olive Embry.