Meet my dog, Ellen DegeneRUFF. (“Ruffy” for short)

She’s our family’s best friend.

She entertains my kids tirelessly. She comforts every member of our family when they are down. She’s always the most excited to see us when we get home.

Our family wouldn’t be the same without her.

Recently I have learned that some sources claim my pet can be carriers of coronavirus and capable of transmitting it to humans. I know it’s not her fault that along with all the muddy footprints in the kitchen, wet nose marks on the windows, dog hair on the couch and funky smells from her bad breath, she now brings my family the gift of potentially life altering disease. In a world where we are encouraged to social distance and wash our hands with the attention and technique of a surgeon, how on earth are we supposed to avoid contracting this virus when Ruffy has the proud job of kissing every member of our family with the sloppiest kisses and jumping all over us?

When I learned about the risk of animals potentially carrying coronavirus, I had to stop and think of how they could contract it in the first place. Then I sat back and watched

Ruffy for a bit.

Ruffy is a machine. From the moment she wakes up, she’s just into EVERYTHING. The whole world is hers to explore.

Wake up.

Jump on my bed and smother me in wet kisses.

Jump on all the kid’s beds and smother them in wet kisses.

Find a moment to sit on the floor and (ahem…) “clean” herself. Gross.

Take a drink of water from her bowl; generously splashing all over the wall and floor.

Run circles by the back door until we open it for her to do her business outside.

Sniffs yesterday’s animal contributions to our grassy yard.

Jumps on the neighbor kids and smothers them in her wet kisses.

… and then it dawned on me.

Ruffy is one of the greatest risks to my family. She doesn’t have a clue about social distancing and disease transmission from aerosolized spit (called fomites). By golly, if there was ever a person who wanted to invent a coronavirus finding machine… they would invent Ellen Degeneruff! That dog will befriend every person within licking distance.

So – what are we to do? We can’t live without Ruffy. But we can TRY to manage our interaction with her. For our family… here’s our new rules:

  1. Sorry Ruffy… we love ya SO much! But all this kissing has got to stop! People are starting to talk. 😊
  2. If we touch Ruffy… (she’s impossible to resist), the rule is that we must wash our hands thoroughly before we touch ANYTHING else. This includes our clothes, our face, objects in the house etc.
  3. For the next foreseeable time, sorry Ruffy… but you gotta be on a leash. You aren’t allowed to socialize with other (potentially coronavirus carrying) doggies or people.
  4. No other animals are allowed in our yard. (They say coronavirus can be transmitted in feces… and we all know how much dogs love to investigate other dog’s feces, right?)
  5. When we throw a toy / ball for Ruffy, we must wear nitryl gloves. Wash hands after we remove the gloves.

This all sucks for our family’s best friend, Ruffy. Man – it sucks for us too. There is nothing better than receiving the unconditional love of the family pet.

We’re going to get through this difficult chapter…

… and we’re bringing Ellen Degeneruff with us!