Eggy’s Corner: Coping through COVID with Dog Mama Bianca

By Bianca Ortiz Wertheim

Hola! My name is Horton Ortiz-Wertheim. My dog-mama Bianca adopted me 11 years ago from the Albuquerque Animal Shelter. Since 2009, my mom Bianca who works for U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) as his Chief of Staff went into an office all week, but now she’s home with me all day!

One of the reasons my mom thinks Senator Udall is a great boss is because he loves animalitos of all kinds! My padrino is one of her co-workers Bill “Guillermo” Woldman, who is a Field Representative for the Senator in New Mexico. Bianca is one of two Latina Chiefs of Staff in the U.S. Senate. She shares this honor with her amiga Rebecca Avitia. I am honored to serve as one of the many four-legged ambassadors on Capitol Hill, I work hard on Bi-Paw-tisanship. Some days it is more difficult than others, but wagging my tail seems to make people smile.

When I come to work with dog mama Bianca, the U.S. Capitol Police are always so kind and professional. I am sure to be on my best behavior (little secret: sometimes they have treats). I think Bianca is sad these days, since she can’t see her colleagues and say hello. But, I do my best to help her navigate the many laptops, iPads, cellphones, headphones that she now has to keep on our dining room table. Looks like my dog mama uses a leash also, but it’s in the form of headphones. Having so many devices plugged in at once makes for some tricky stepping for me and occasionally, my fluffy tail will battle with her MacBook Air plug.

The COVID-19 pandemic is scary, and I hope our humans stay safe. I am lucky that I get to spend a lot of time with my dog mama and dog papa. Sometimes I just want to sleep or just lay around with my eyes open and contemplate puzzles- like, how many treats come in a box of Milk Bones? Why are squirrels so fast? How come certain blades of grass smell SOOO good? But, dog mama wants to go for walks while wearing her leash and talking into it (curious), or wants to brush my fur- again, or just talks to me…all…of…the…time. It can be exhausting being a quarantine dog.

After a month of my dog mama working from home, I have some consejo for all the dog mamas and papas out there. I understand it can be stressful:

– Limit your intake of treats, cookies, and the liquid that pours freely at Yappy Hour

– Hygiene is important, please bathe. A dog’s sense of smell is 40 times greater than humans. Be kind.

– Clean up after yourself. Pay attention to trip hazards – especially furry ones, like me!

– Stop drinking coffee after 3 PM. Quarantine or no-quarantine, this is sound advice when you are already anxious!

– There is a difference between zoomies and Zoom!

– Sometimes barking isn’t the best way to communicate with one another.

In solidarity,
Horton Ortiz-Wertheim, President of Activities & Wellness (PAW)