By Melita Virginie
Pets in the City of Casey are being lavished with attention as owners turn to their furry friends for comfort during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Stage 3 government restrictions to safeguard the community from the pandemic have meant the closure of non-essential services, home school and work, all of which have allowed for more cuddle time with pets.
Aubrey Rosario is a resident of Hampton Park and the owner of an affectionate border collie called Peach. He has encouraged friends who have always wanted a pet to purchase one now.
“This is the best time to get a puppy because you’re all at home and you can teach the puppy a lot when you’re at home,” he said.
Aubrey has introduced special virus safety measures to his dog walking routine. “My daily walk routine is planned and programmed to where I go and where I take her. Before, she could go anywhere, at any time. Now I try to restrict her from mingling with other dogs,” he said.
Ash Neville, a receptionist for South Cranbourne Vet Surgery, said their practice was booked up weeks in advance. Appointments that were normally available within one to four days are now have a 2 week wait.
“Business is ridiculous, we’ve been bombarded,” she said.
“Conditions that can go unnoticed really easily, like skin and ear infections, are being looked after as pet owners have had time at home.”
A similar spike in business has occurred at the Lynbrook Veterinary Clinic.
Receptionist Katie Moors said the clinic had new protocols, with surfaces being regularly sprayed with disinfectant, appointments slightly lengthened and a strict maximum of one person allowed to accompany their pet in the waiting room at any time.
“It’s been very busy,” she said.
“Booster vacs and nail trims are the most common bookings. People are at home so they are paying more attention to their pets.”
The focus on pets appears to extend beyond the City of Casey.
Allison, a customer care officer for the RSPCA Adopt a Pet service in Burwood, said the service had been busier than usual, even though it had minimised traffic at the centre.
“Everything is by appointment only,” Allison said.
“Adoptions have been pretty steady. Cats tend to go faster than dogs. If you have a look online now, you will see we only have one dog available,” she said.
This story was produced as part of a first year Journalism unit at Deakin University.