Lucky, a seven-year-old Border Collie and Beagle mix born and raised in New Paltz, has not felt appreciated by his owner, Jennifer Hurlow, for nearly a year.
According to Lucky, Hurlow has been completely disinterested in playing fetch and has even acted frustrated with Lucky when he has tried to initiate playtime with her. Recently, she switched Lucky’s dog food to a brand “she knows I don’t like,” he claimed.
His biggest qualm, however, is that a couple weeks ago, Hurlow came home with the smell of another dog on her pants and hands.
“Now I’m thinking, ‘is she seeing other dogs?’ I’m pacing around all day and tearing apart the couch cushions because I have no idea where she is, when she’ll be back or who she’s with,” Lucky said. “A family with a four-month-old Jack Russell just moved across the street like a week ago, is she petting that guy?”
However, all of Lucky’s relationship worries have melted away ever since COVID-19 has forced social distancing and self-quarantine.
“All of a sudden, she is home all day, everyday, and I am the center of her world. Now, all she wants to do is take me outside for walks!” Lucky said. “I have no idea what changed, but why question a good thing, right?”
In the past week, Hurlow has taken Lucky on 21 walks along the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, where Lucky has supposedly met other dogs all experiencing the same phenomenon of suddenly heightened love and attention from their owners.
“Things between us have never been better. Thank you COVID-19!” Lucky barked before Hurlow took him on the third walk of the day.
But not all animals are experiencing the quarantine as a transformative, electric shock to their relationship with their owners. Munchkin, a local nine-year-old Maine Coone cat, has “had enough” of her owner, who Munchkin refers to as simply “the person who feeds me” (PWFM).
The best part of Munchkin’s day is the second PWFM leaves for the day. Her proceeding schedule is as follows: nap on the sunny patch of the living room’s shag throw rug for two hours, sharpen her claws on PWFM’s suede jacket for 45 minutes, chew and gnaw on the leaves of a houseplant for at least half an hour, subsequently throw up the plant in one of PWFM’s shoes for 15 minutes, then sleep outstretched on the window sill for the rest of the afternoon.
When PWFM is home, Munchkin likes to taunt, intimidate and manipulate PWFM, like unblinkingly glaring at PWFM from across the room and rubbing herself against her leg just to hiss and swat at her offered affection.
Munchkin said that her methods are intended “to break her down bit by bit psychologically, and to remind her who exactly calls the shots in this house.”
“I’ve plotted ways to kill her,” Munchkin admitted.
With PWFM home all day due to the quarantine, Munchkin is forced to adapt to a whole new schedule. While she has no idea why PWFM is now home so often, Munchkin wants it to stop immediately for the sake of her alone time.
“I don’t know who she thinks she is,” Munchkin said. “She always wants to stroke my back, scratch behind my ears and rub under my chin … just constantly loving me and giving me attention. It’s infuriating.”
Now, Munchkin’s daily schedule entails tracking where PWFM is so she can make sure to be in the room PWFM isn’t in. Over the past eight days, PWFM has taken 14 selfies with Munchkin without her consent.
“I don’t want to incriminate myself here, but if this quarantine goes on much longer, there’s no telling of what I might do,” Munchkin said.