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Dog Park Discussions: Coping, or not coping, in challenging times

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

Frank Alansky with Daisy and Sophie

The impact of the coronavirus emergency has had a significant impact on the lives of those county residents, who, in many ways, haven’t even experienced a direct connection to the dangers of the disease.

Coping with the challenges that come with increased isolation created by staying home more often is real. Being bombarded with bad news from the media, which might be one of your few connections to the greater community. doesn’t help either.

Frank and Kathy Alansky of Edgewater are just one couple who think their worlds have gotten more difficult since March. Both were running their Pomeranian, Daisy and Sophie, at Quiet Waters Dog Park in Annapolis on Sunday July 9.

“Thank God for dogs!” Frank said. The 70-something retiree is a former director of marking for A&P Foods.

Kathy said, even though the couple doesn’t know anyone personally who has contracted COVID-19 or even been laid off because of it, the state of emergency has had a negative impact on them.

They have both become somewhat depressed, she said, Frank perhaps more then herself.

“I have low depression, “ she said. “His depression is worse than mine. You’re used to living one way and then boom! All the sudden everything changes. You feel like you’re locked up.”

She said she went back to work at Dollar Tree because she likes the people. Alansky had taken off from work there early in the emergency because of virus fear. Frank has emphysema and she doesn’t want to bring the virus home to him.

But she eventually decided doing a five hour shift twice a week there was the right decision for her. She finds the work fun.

“I missed it,” she said. “Life goes on.”

Kathy finds herself continuing to adjust to the changing times each new day. She said she does generally what she did before, but with more caution.

“Every time you go out the door you're thinking, ‘Oh, I got to do six -foot distance and, ‘Do I need my mask?’ she said. “Just everything's changed.”

She seemed most concerned about the impact the coronavirus emergency was having on the school year of young students. Her granddaughter will be directly impacted by the choices made by school administrators this fall semester,

“She’s in Southern (High School) her second year and she’s missing all of her high school,” Kathy Alansky said. “Last year she said ‘Gosh I just started high school and I didn’t get to do it.’ I feel bad for her because high school is something that you really remember. She said the internet learning was terrible last year. Maybe it’ll improve. I don’t know.”

Kathy said she’s hoping if a vaccine is found her granddaughter might be able to go to school in person in January.

Hornig's Denny

Carl Hornig was also at the park with his dog Denny. Hornig is a semi-retired engineer. Like Kathy, he was most concerned about area young area students this school year. His own life has slowed down a bit, but he believed school-age children would be affected the most.

“To me the real tragedy is the children not going back in school,” he said. “That’s my biggest concern.”

Kathy Alansky felt neither the federal or local governments had done enough to address the public needs created by the emergency. The one exception was Governor Hogan. Frank and Kathy thought he had done a good job so far. She hopes Hogan will eventually run for president.

Hornig expressed some concern about the upcoming November election, especially with mail-in voting. He thought citizens should be required to show up at a poll with their ID to vote.

“I’m just not big on this mail-in stuff,” he said. “There’s too many opportunities for fraud.”

As their dogs roamed through the park together under a hot sun, Carl, Frank and Cathy social distanced and chatted. Their pets were oblivious to the problems of the day. The animals explored, played, and periodically ran back to the community water bowl to get a drink.

Kathy Alamski sees the the animals as part of her solution to the troubles each new day seems to bring lately.