Since the COVID-19
pandemic forced the closure of nonessential face-to-face businesses and sent
droves of essential workers to their home offices and living rooms, cats and
dogs are suddenly finding themselves tasked with helping their humans work.
Tribune asked Duneland residents how their pets are coping with these
new working conditions. The conclusion: cats and dogs across Duneland have
been working their little paws off. They deserve promotions at once--and
Those of us with
animals have always wondered what they do when we’re away, and though we
will never know for sure, this new era of social distancing has already
shown us that some of Duneland’s furry residents have been harboring
essential, marketable skills.
Take Sally, for
instance. Sally is an 8-year-old male tuxedo cat who has proven to be an
apparent veteran Communications Specialist since he joined mom Miranda
Morley on a Zoom call last week. Morley, a Chesterton small business owner
who also works for Hammond-based coworking company GreenCOW, said she’s
learned Sally is also very knowledgeable about work-life balance, nutrition,
“He routinely tries
to sit on my keyboard to keep me from working too hard. He’s also concerned
with my diet since I’ve been staying in so much, so he graciously offers to
consume anything I bring back to my desk to snack on,” Morley said.
and his brother Ginger feel it’s time for me to relax, so they put on a show
of chasing each other around the room. He’s really quite helpful. I don’t
know how I got anything done without him,” she added.
Not everyone is
enjoying the same level of productivity from their furry companions,
however. Local author and Purdue University Northwest continuing lecturer
Heather Augustyn has continued working toward her Ph.D. during the statewide
stay-at-home order. Her 14-year-old orange and white cat Dude, the Big
Meowski, has offered to help her study Cicero’s “De Oratore”, but promptly
got bored and stopped for a snooze on her laptop.
I’m not the HR
department, so I’ll assume Dude had a solid reason to sleep--perhaps he
thinks Cicero’s famous dialogue, penned in 55 BC was “before cats” and,
thus, an epic yawn.
Augustyn said it’s
no surprise Dude is slacking off, since he’s always been cantankerous. “Dude
is a pretty unfriendly cat and super independent, so having a moment like
this where he curls up on my lap, purrs, and falls asleep is pretty rare. It
usually lasts about 15 minutes and then he gets irked and tries to claw me,”
her 4-year-old German Shepherd/Great Pyrenees mix Milo helps her study, but
Rascal the chiweenie (Dachshund / Chihuahua mix), who favors Augustyn’s son
Frank, has not been helpful and “just barks at anything that moves.”
Stephanie Kuziela, accountant for the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning
Committee, reported her 5-year-old Pit Bull/Lab mix Zosia has been a
dedicated Personal Trainer--reminding her when to take breaks and get
Zosia has even been
working on her own fitness goals as well as nudging her Mom. “She absolutely
hates my work headset since it has a microphone piece to it,” Kuziela said,
“Once she sees it, she runs out of the room.”
Kuziela said Zosia
has otherwise been adjusting well to the new work-from-home routine and
enjoys sleeping in later and spending more time outdoors. “When she’s not
outside, she really doesn’t leave my side--unless she’s giving me the stink
eye across the room because I can’t play with her,” Kuziela said.
Thievery is afoot
at the Nevers household where Chesterton Tribune Senior Reporter
Kevin Nevers had his office chair stolen by 8-year-old orange tabby cat
Butterscotch. Luckily, 17-year-old Senior Nevers House Manager Marty the cat
stepped up as a fact checker to help Kevin bring the daily news to Duneland.
aquatic ecologist for the United States Geological Survey, has been getting
moral support and tech help from Butterscotch’s brother Lucky. Meredith said
the four Nevers cats miss their solitude, but enjoy the new overabundance of
warm office chairs at home. Kirby, the grumpiest Nevers cat, is apparently
awaiting his unemployment check, as he’s the only one who remains uninvolved
I type these last
words as my 2-year-old tuxedo cat Angel, a known stage five clinger, begs me
to take a break and hold her like a baby. Duneland’s pets are a talented
bunch--no doubt. The Chesterton Tribune will be featuring more photos
of Duneland’s essential furry workers in the coming days.