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Ricky and Lucy are our four-legged family members. We adopted both as adults. Ricky is a malamute husky, and Lucy is more of a Siberian husky. I tease them both all the time, calling them my “Bad Doggies.” They aren’t terrible per se, just naughty sometimes. But that’s another story for a different day.

When COVID-19 hit hard, back in March 2020, I was one of the millions sent home to work. At first, I thought it would be awesome. For years, I’d dreamed of working from home. Now, suddenly, it became my new reality.

Day one was fantastic. I got dressed, no pajamas on the job for me. But without the forty-five-minute commute, I accomplished a lot in the wee hours before the workday even officially started. With no meetings that day, I tore through the job like a Tasmanian Devil on steroids. I got so much done! Not only that, but I had my two dogs with me to keep me company.

Then day two arrived, and I had phone meetings. Not as easy because I was used to seeing people’s faces and gaining information from those views. No worries, though. I was still a star performer. Or at least I felt like one. I had undoubtedly impressed Ricky by how much time I spent at that desk during the day. At least he complained about it. Why didn’t I pet him and play with him? I was right there!

As the week wore on, though, Ricky and Lucy became used to my working upstairs all day. They would trek up with me in the morning, down for lunch, and back upstairs for the afternoon. We were one happy little pack.

Problems began around the time the Zoom meetings rolled in. My dogs dislike Zoom meetings. Something about the tone of the speakers causes Lucy to whine. Ricky would often follow by “talking” and letting me know I didn’t need to be on those calls. How unfortunate.

Because of their vocal disapproval, I banned them from the office on days I had Zoom calls. They didn't like this one bit. They would lie on the other side of my office door and wait for me either to come out or let them in. I felt like a lousy dog mama, but work was work, and we had to create a “no dogs allowed” zone.

Roll forward two more weeks, and Ricky’d had enough. I mean like “stick a fork in me done.” He wanted nothing more to do with being on the wrong side of that office door. But he knew I would kick him out in a flash if he snuck in. No matter, sneak in, he did. If I went to use the ladies’ room, he’d sneak in when I passed out of sight, and crawl under the desk. As soon as I’d sit down, there he'd be, giving me the saddest eyes he could muster, begging me silently to let him stay. I had to let him stay some days. It tore at my heartstrings too much to kick him out.

Have you ever seen a person with this same look? I have. I remember as a child seeing this look on the faces of other kids who wanted inclusion. Embarrassment overwhelms me when I recall I didn’t always respond as I should have.

I’ve seen this look in adults, too. The appearance isn’t quite the same, but you can spot it if you are a people watcher. Shame on us we don’t all recognize it and that as adults, loneliness still exists. Double down on your willingness to respond to the look and include those you wouldn’t normally add to your conversations. I’ll work on that on my end as well.

Have something to add to this? I’d love to hear from you.