Rick Schadelbauer

"Many work calls have been interrupted by the sounds of children or pets.  In a sense, it’s almost comforting."
Shelby Carol Rick

The author with his wife, Carol, and goldendoodle, Shelby

She entered our lives nine years ago, a crazily energetic goldendoodle we named Shelby.

Like all dogs, Shelby selected an alpha from her new pack. Spurning me and my two teenage sons, she instead chose my wife, Carol.

Shelby had a perfect life—fed twice a day, walked on the bike path and given all the chewy toys she could destroy. She had a quirky habit of swallowing socks, miraculously avoiding serious medical damage. She would follow Carol around the house, curling up in her lap at night as we watched a bit of television before bed.

During the daytime, when we were off at work, Shelby spent most of her time napping, insuring that she would be fully energized when we returned in the evening.

Her primary mission seemed to be alerting us to any dogs who dared walk down the sidewalk in front of our house, with a loud and ferocious bark that contrasted with her sweet, loving disposition.

Then, in March, all of our lives changed. The pandemic hit, and—like so many others—Carol and I stayed home and teleworked full time.

Shelby’s life changed, as well. She no longer had her weekdays to herself. She seemed confused at first, but soon came to accept and even embrace the change. She became Carol’s constant companion, setting up camp in a big leather chair in her home office, staring out of the bay window at the birds and squirrels in our backyard.

Shelby’s angry bark has graced numerous Zoom calls, warning all participants of the presence of another dog outside our house.

We’re hardly unique. Many work calls have been interrupted by the sounds of children or pets (or both).  In a sense, it’s almost comforting—a reminder that as much as we may strive to conduct business as usual, these times are anything but. These disruptions are a bit of comic relief in a very stressful time.

Some day, we will return to our offices, and Shelby will resume her long daytime naps.  Until then, she keeps our hearts full and our days happier during this darn pandemic.

Sometimes, it’s the small things that matter.


Categories: Covid Chronicles