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It’s a good thing there is no evidence that dogs can spread the novel coronavirus because my dog would be terrible at following social distancing guidelines.

We're two months into social distancing and even my dog, Coco, has cabin fever. In fact, it's gotten so bad that she’s been scrupulously digging tunnels in our backyard to have play dates with the neighbor dogs.

Up until recently, she had never managed to fully fit under the fence where she had dug a moderate-sized hole. Just a paw or two or the front of her snout could slip through. Both my neighbor and I kept filling in the hole with dirt, but every time she went outside, Coco just kept digging.

Her breakthrough moment came in the middle of the week during work hours.

I was working away on my computer at the kitchen table, listening to my 2- and 4-year-olds laugh along with Blippi or Steve and Maggie (they’ve started to blur together at this point). The puppy had been whining pretty much all day to go outside so she could chase her furry friends up and down the privacy fence separating them.

That is, until she decided she was done with social distancing.

The next thing I know, I’m getting photo and video text messages from my neighbor. There was Coco, playing with the neighbor pup, Max. She had finally squeezed herself under the fence and popped out the other side.

I wasn’t really surprised. I knew the day would come. Coco is determined and crafty. She had already escaped beneath the other side of the fence to meet our other neighbor dog. I had to rescue her when she tried to sneak back in like a mischievous teenager and got her head stuck under the fence.

I watched from my deck as she ran zoomies around the yard with the neighbor dog, who is about the same age. They are both puppies. My kids laughed; my neighbor and I laughed. It was a welcome and heartwarming event to break us out of the social distancing funk.

And it got me thinking just how important dogs are to me and my family. In fact, dogs are family. Having grown up with dogs my entire life, I’m so happy I get to share that experience with my young sons. Both boys have such a fondness for dogs and animals, and our dogs can give them a different love and connection than we can.

When our entire family has been thrown from our routine and we all continue to adjust to a new normal, our dogs are still there as a comfort from our previous routine. They get me and my kids out of the house more frequently on neighborhood walks or just to the backyard to stretch our legs.

Life would be a little duller without these crazy dogs around, and I’m so glad they can provide some entertainment for our family during this difficult time.

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Kendra Perley is a mom to two young boys who keep her busy. When not wrangling boys, she's an established freelance writer who loves helping businesses elevate their products and services with words. You can find more of her parenting stories on her blog, The Maternal Canvas.

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