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Cannon Quarantine: Comfort from canines

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A tribute to man’s best friend

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

While there’s no hockey being played, we are searching for other ways to distract ourselves. As a result, we’ll be touching upon some non-hockey topics over the next few weeks. Don’t worry, we’ll try to cover some historical Jackets topics as well. In the meantime, we hope this can continue to be a place for the Cannon community to congregate and share information and emotional support for each other. Thanks for staying tuned.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are going to the dogs.

I mean that literally. The team just posted a video documenting an off day excursion from the recent Western Canada trip. The players ventured to Banff National Park in Alberta and got to ride through the park via dogsled. Look at all these very good boys and girls (and I don’t mean the players):

Of course it is well known that head coach John Tortorella is an animal lover. We learned this early in his tenure as Jackets coach:

His foundation raises funds and awareness for pet rescue, and he has several rescue dogs of his own.

Many players have dogs of their own. Scott Harrington just got a French Bulldog puppy:

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me n dad

A post shared by JoJo Harrington (@josie.thefrenchie) on

Alexander Wennberg and Markus Nutivaara both have dachshunds:

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A post shared by Markus Nutivaara (@mauripellervo) on

And that’s just a start. Atkinson, Gavrikov, Nyquist, etc. All dog owners.

I have always loved dogs. They’re friendly, happy, and energetic, and in some cases can be trained to do amazing things. A childhood allergy temporarily delayed me from having one, but finally at age 10 my family adopted an Australian Shepherd mix named Sophie. She was adorable and super friendly and the best dog a boy could ask for. She passed not long after I graduated college, and then it was over 10 years before I was in a living situation where I could finally get my own dog.

That came in 2018 when I worked with the rescue organizations RESCUED Ohio and Help Save Pets to adopt an eight month old terrier mix that I named Rory. He’s shy around new people but he has gotten much better as he’s been socialized. He was instantly friendly when we first met, and has continued to be very close to me - unfortunately to the point of having separation anxiety. That being said, I don’t mind him wanting to cuddle in my lap after a long day away at work.

That connection is more important now than ever. There is so much stress and fear and uncertainty in the outside world. It has definitely worn on me over the last week. I have found it incredibly calming to tune out distractions like the TV or my phone and just focus on the dog. Maybe it’s taking him for a long walk around the park. Maybe it’s petting him as he falls asleep next to me on the couch. There’s so much happening that is outside of my control, so it’s centering to remind myself that the most important thing at the moment is taking care of myself and this creature.

Adopting a pet - and especially a dog - can be a big life change. This is another living creature that you are responsible for. They need food, they need exercise, and they need attention. This takes time and money. But, these were things I was willing to invest. I wasted less time at work, so I could leave earlier to get back to the dog. I wasted less time when I got him because I had to feed him and walk him. I could no longer sleep in as late on weekends (though thankfully once we go for a 7 a.m. walk, he’s content to hop back in bed and nap with me for a few more hours). I earned a sense of accomplishment by training him (if he doesn’t obey now it’s not because he doesn’t know, it’s because he’s a stubborn jerk). By walking him around a very dog-friendly neighborhood, I have met so many more neighbors than I would have otherwise.

In the middle of the crisis is probably not an ideal time to adopt, but if you have the means and the work schedule to accommodate getting a dog, I cannot recommend it highly enough once things return to normal. They will love you forever and unconditionally and that’s a valuable thing.

Also, they provide great social media content. Feel free to share pics and stories of your own pups in the comments.

Lots of people shared great pet pics with us on Twitter this weekend, and that really cheered me up. Check it out if you need the same boost: