Leaving a Light On

For many years, I worked from home as a freelance medical writer, which is an ideal situation when you have children and pets. I was home when our maltese Jasper was a puppy, and two years later when we adopted Winnie as a kitten.

But once my kids hit high school, I decided to go back to work in an office. Luckily, I work locally. I’m close enough to run home at lunch if needed. But it still represents the first time my pets have been “home alone” for about six hours a day, at least during the school year.

I feel better that they have each other. When we adopted Winnie we promised the animal shelter we would keep her indoors, so she’s always inside with Jasper. 

The first few weeks I started working, I considered whether or not I should leave the TV or radio on softly, to “keep the pets company”. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it didn’t make sense. I never had the TV or radio on during the years when I worked from home, because I prefer quiet when I’m writing. If it were me, the drone of the TV or radio would just drive me crazy, and I’d leave the room.

But one thing I do in the winter months is leave a light on for Jasper and Winnie if it’s a dark or cloudy day. I know some humans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I wonder it could be the same with pets.  

I don’t want to waste energy, and I’m environmentally-minded. I realize Jasper and Winnie are animals, who may not “need” artificial light. At the same time, if you’ve had something for many years, you get used to it.

So I leave a light on. Not all the lights, but one in the kitchen where the food is. I like to think the warm glow reminds my pets that the kids will soon be home from school, providing laps to sit in, balls to chase, and treats to eat.  

Sandi Ward