Did you get a COVID pet? Many, many people did. They were suddenly working from home with nearly zero human contact other than the lovely government bureaucrats who visited the morning shows to tell us that if anyone leaves their home, they will be vaporized—or worse. This produced loneliness, and tequila was not warm and fuzzy enough, so everyone went pet crazy.

Now, for optometrists, this was not as big a thing. We hid out just long enough to decide we would rather not get our homes repossessed, and then we went back into the office dressed like medieval knights just in case somebody showed up. Most of us did not feel the need for a furry friend. After all, every day we basked in the warmth of someone who got their glasses in 2019 but had trouble wearing them and couldn’t come in because Gayle King told them to stay home.

What do optometrists know about animals, anyway? Sure, I grew up with a constant flood of dogs and cats. That’s a requirement in West Virginia. All I recall is that they laid around outside all day and that Dad wisely taught us about the proper operation of a shovel out back. But I can’t remember any classes on pet care in optometry school. Well, there was that hour we spent on how to handle an angry patient—swat them on the butt with a newspaper. Maybe that’s the way to go when it comes to animals, too.

But even the toughest of optometrists (who, on the tough meter, are barely a two out of 100) fell into the puppy/kitten trap—myself included. You heard right.

Lily is a five-month-old toy poochon. Her behavior makes me think she was bred specifically from a long line of dogs trained to pee on their owner’s bed. She tricks us into allowing her into our bed around 3am every morning. That means I get to wake up wet and angry every day precisely at 6:30am. Lucky me.

Luckily, Lily does not complain. She just greets me at the door grinning ear to ear and wagging her tail off like I am a T-bone steak. This melts away the stresses of the day, and I am able to immediately forget that Marty’s gas permeable multifocals still don’t work. All things considered, this is probably good for me. 

Marty, accept your fate, get a puppy and put on some reading glasses.

Lily also helps my wife survive working from home and having no friends. I’m schmoozing all day so I really don’t want any friends, but she’s not like that. For some reason, she believes that friends are enriching. I think reruns of Seinfeld are just as good.

If you are looking for a great dog for an optometry-oriented family, here’s some (as always) sage advice:

  1. Avoid bloodhounds. They always have eye problems because of their saggy eyelids. You already get to take care of that with your mom’s sister, Edith.
  2. What about a pit bull? Sure, if you live in a state that allows you to stitch up your neighbor’s kids’ faces.
  3. A great dane? Forget the shovel and buy a backhoe.
  4. Border collie? Can you stand to have yet another family member smarter than you?
  5. Husky? Well, do you knit? There will be an endless supply of piles of hair for your sweater creations.
  6. Greyhound? You can’t even outrun your four-year-old. What are you thinking?
  7. Wait for it… your best bet is a toy poochon! My wife would kill me, but EVERYTHING has a price. Private equity? Give me a call. I have your dog! (Also accepting Bitcoin)

Dr. Vickers received his optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1979 and was clinical director at Vision Associates in St. Albans, WV, for 36 years. He is now in private practice in Dallas, where he continues to practice full-scope optometry. He has no financial interests to disclose.