Emily Rice

Emily Rice is the Lifestyles Editor of The Bluefield Daily Telegraph and the Associate Editor of Prerogative Magazine.

My dog got put in time-out for the first time this week.

Yes, I apologize if you are not a fan of dog content, but this was quite the week for us. Me and my dog, Zooey have been quarantined together since March 19. While I have spent a lot of this time being grateful to have a job that allows me to work from home, I hit my limit on dog-related interruptions this week.

She did not mean any harm, truly. She is just accustomed to our life, which normally consists of constant attention when I am home. However, she does not understand the concept of "working from home," and spent the first three days of this week, seemingly, doing everything she possibly could to ruin every interview I had. She unplugged my laptop in the middle of an interview, knocked over notebooks and nearly my entire desk, just trying to get me to pay attention to her...I think.

While we have lived together for 12 years, Zooey is still a mystery to me sometimes. She has a few strange quirks and traits that have become lovable parts of her personality. What I do not understand is why she changed her behavior a couple of months into our quarantine together.

For the first month of quarantine, me being home was a treat for Zooey. She seemed to be just so overjoyed that I was not leaving the house every morning that she just followed me around and was content to nap while I worked. However, this past week, I think she might have convinced herself that I am unemployed and just making calls and typing away on my computer for fun, and she is done with it. After all, who is going to provide for our family (her food, toys and treats) if I am not working?

So, a momentous decision was made Thursday. I had my interview with Steve Earle, the subject of this week's feature, scheduled and was attempting to do research about him and his career before our interview so that I could prepare some questions and be better informed. Two hours before our interview, I was still shoving Zooey, my 85-pound dog, off my lap so I could take notes. I finally decided to do it. I was invested in this interview and the last thing I needed during my limited time on the phone with Steve Earle was my dog to knock my entire desk over because I am talking on the phone and not to her.

I apologized over and over as I made sure she had food and water and closed the bedroom door. She was quiet. Very well-behaved, but sad. After I finished my research, I hurried to let her out of the bedroom. With the entire bed available to nap and rest on, food and water to keep her busy and a window to look out, she had stayed in the exact same spot, in front of the door, sitting with her ears perked up, waiting for me to return.

I immediately dropped into the floor and apologized as she licked my tears away. I felt like a terrible dog-parent, just for isolating her for an hour. I quickly realized that she had already been on about five walks, had treats, meals and playtime that day. I couldn't be a terrible dog parent just for a small time-out.

Everything we do seems to involve a "new normal" right now. Going back to work in our offices, returning to restaurants and social gatherings (under CDC guidelines) and running errands in a mask, these are all new things for most of us. But, we'd better adjust quickly, lest we knock a desk over and get put in time out.

— Contact Emily Rice at erice@bdtonline.com and follow her on Twitter @BDTrice

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