COVID-19, Joey Cocker, and Me

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by Ed Tobias |

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It’s comforting to have this guy, with his floppy ears, stretched out next to me as I sit here writing.

I don’t know why, but the fact that Joey, who is really my wife Laura’s cocker spaniel, has chosen to nap next to me is special. I’m not usually a softy for this kind of thing, and Joey can be a real pain in the neck when his internal alarm clock goes off each morning, much too early for me. But right now, his presence is appreciated. Joey Cocker is my cold-nosed stress reducer.

Joey Cocker. (Photo by Ed Tobias)

Because I’m stuck inside due to COVID-19, Joey is my reason to go out four times a day. I can’t walk more than about 75 yards, but I don’t need to. Joey has trotted alongside my scooter for most of his 13-year life. He likes people a lot more than he likes most dogs, and he wants to socialize with them (the people, not their dogs). So, I have a leash that’s longer than 6 feet so that he can still be socially active while I keep my distance.

Walking Joey can, at times, be a little challenging. This is especially true when it’s raining and windy, as often is the case along Maryland’s coast, where we’ve lived for many years. Getting off the scooter, or even leaning sideways from it, can be difficult with my cane and his leash in one hand, and the poop bag in the other. If there’s a dog nearby that Joey doesn’t like, I get extra points for keeping them from tangling. But overall, it’s a good experience for both of us. (And here at our winter location in Florida, the walk is a LOT easier than up north).

Joey and Ed. (Courtesy of Ed Tobias)

I really want to get back to exercising in the gym a few times a week. I want to swim and walk in the pool. But it’s obvious that I won’t be able to do that anytime soon. (Don’t get me started on the state governors here in the U.S. who have begun to lift restrictions much too soon, in my opinion.) So, Joey will be my stress reliever for some time to come.

He’s also something else. Remember Joey’s internal alarm clock that I mentioned earlier? On some days, it’s the only thing that keeps me from sleeping until noon. What a waste of a day that would be, even with the limits that this pandemic has placed on all of us. So, I’ll let this sleeping dog lie. He can do more for me while he’s asleep than I can do for him when I’m awake.

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Cynthia avatar


My little Chinese Crested is the same.......I always wonder where he hides his watch ! He wakes me at exactly 9:15 every morning wanting his breakfast . I am sure he would like a walk ,too.....but I haven't done that for a few years.
I don't know what I would do without him

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias


9:15??? I wish Joey's alarm was set for that time. His goes off around 7:15am!!


Jon Lane avatar

Jon Lane

You know I I walk my dogs too, but I don’t let my dogs socialize with other people. I worry about people petting them. Seems like an avenue for spreading the virus.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Jon,

Good point. In fact, since writing this column the CDC has confirmed two cases of coronavirus in cats. Now, my wife has told me I need to keep Joey away from both other dogs and people. This lack of socializing will disturb him more than it will disturb me!



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