HAPP pets Life in Lockdown

Interfering pets: Meet Darcy

By Tom Marshall, PhD Candidate in Anthropology

If Ivan Pavlov was conducting his Pavlov’s dog experiment today, he could use my doggie, Darcy, when virtual meetings begin. When virtual meetings start with the participants initial, “hello, how are you?” Darcy takes her cue to bark or growl. It is her way of saying “hello” or “who’s here to play with me?” Darcy is then on a quest to search for these ‘intruders’ in her home. My lap is then selfishly used as a human vantage point.

As you can see from the screenshot below, I have to struggle to be seen on screen by the meeting participants. Maruška, my supervisor, anticipates, even expects Darcy’s bark at the start of our virtual supervision meetings. In fact, Darcy’s presence at regular meetings is often anticipated. However, when I am on a virtual call with people we haven’t met before, Darcy’s need for attention requires some explanation. Thankfully, Darcy’s interfering adds an initial talking point, breaking the ice before any official business begins. So, rather than interfering, Darcy brings moments of surprise and joy during zoom gloom and our pandemic lethargy.

Who’s there? Darcy Zoom-bombing. Photo by the author.

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