Of Pets and Plants: Finding Comfort Amid the Lockdown

Alan and Lani turn to their garden and furry friends for solace.

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When the nationwide community quarantine was imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipinos at home went back to basics and found new meaning in “simple joys.” To counter the stressful situation, a good number began appreciating the soothing qualities of nature, giving rise to plantitos and plantitas who grow a variety of plants for both aesthetic and wellness purposes.

Such was the case with Alan and Lani Cayetano. Though not quite a full-fledged plantito and plantita, their home garden brought so much comfort and joy to the couple.

“When we were young, my mom taught us to love nature,” says Alan. “In fact, I remember that she showed us how to start growing an avocado tree. You just place toothpicks around an avocado seed and suspend it on top of a jar filled with water. It would eventually grow a root, which can then be planted on the ground.”

Spending so much time at home also allowed them to bond with family members, including pets who were delighted to see their “hoomans” at home most of the time.

“Another thing that made us forget our anxieties during the lockdown was our family. What would we do with the garden if there are no family members to enjoy it with? And of course, there is Star… Star gives us so much joy, too!” shares Alan.

Star is none other than their beloved Labrador, who has recently developed an affinity for the new avocado leaves in the garden. In addition to Star, they’re also pet parents to ten chihuahuas and a big turtle, a particular favorite among their nephews.

“It’s therapeutic to love dogs. They don’t get tired, they don’t get sad. They have boundless energy,” Alan says. “For Lani and I, we see them as more than pets. They are valuable members of our family.”

“It’s therapeutic to love dogs. They don’t get tired, they don’t get sad. They have boundless energy. We see them as more than pets. They are valuable members of our family.”

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