2020: The Year of The Ring of Steel and Shaggy Dogs

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2020: The Year of The Ring of Steel and Shaggy Dogs

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In the series of images depicted above, I portray the imminent changes to both my life and the lives of those I love. The stage three lockdown which dawned on the 8th of July 2020 somewhat replicated a tale of two cities. A ‘Ring of Steel’ enforced between metro and regional Victoria separated a state in the grip of a deadly second wave. For me personally, 2020 changed my life in two notable ways; my two worlds were separated, and as droll as it sounds, I couldn’t get my dog a haircut.

The ring of steel meant that I was separated from both my family property and my boyfriend who lives in Regional Victoria, although we could still visit one another it just didn’t feel the same. Like going through customs at an airport you are grilled on your reasons for travelling into a regional zone, and the answer of visiting a partner seemed to also evoke a multitude of other questions confirming the validity of the aforementioned statement. This however was all very necessary as there are regions of Victoria that haven’t even seen one single case of COVID since it reached Australia in January 2020. My first image was taken one day upon my return to Melbourne from seeing my boyfriend in regional Victoria and epitomises how even back in April, COVID-related precautions were widespread. Whilst my second photograph pinpoints the outage which the Vic Roads change of address function encountered a day prior to the announcement of the ‘Ring of Steel’ on July 9, 2020. The third photo is a government document and summary of those restrictions that were also outlined from this date onwards.

Stage 4 restrictions also meant that all non-essential services were shut to combat the unnecessary spread of the virus, and this included dog groomers. Our West Highland White Terrier Angus was certainly thankful for this as sitting still is not his strong point, but it also meant that he could hardly see with his hair growing over his eyes like a veranda. There were calls from the RSPCA to re-open these services to the public earlier as they had treated a number of grisly injuries from owners attempting at home cuts on their pooches. Whilst a number of petitions were also got up by dog groomers who were more concerned about the welfare of the animals rather than the business aspect. With continuous lobbying, the efforts of the animal welfare community paid off and on the 28th of September they were able to resume services, a far cry from October 26th the original date outlined. The fourth and fifth photo depicts Angus before and after his much-needed haircut in early October.

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Pandemic Pets>Covid’s Impact on Pets

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This item was submitted on November 9, 2020 by Lyndsay Anton-Hem using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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