Covid-19 is an illness that affects your lungs and airways but, with the seemingly constant change in lockdown measures across the nation, has this virus progressed to affect more than just our physical health?

In a heart-warming tale of man meets dog, grandfather Philip, aged 87 and local resident of Wimbledon for over 30 years, adopted an old rescue dog called Mopsy. Compelled by his daughter to look for a furry companion who might raise his drooping spirits, Philip brought the border-terrier home from the shelter a week ago and has not looked back since. 

Philip described he was not used to living on his own and had been finding it hard to cope with lockdown’s restrictions which prevented him from seeing family. ‘You suffer from loneliness,’ he admitted and divulged his very real and agonizing struggle. ‘We’ve only had her for a week, but I find, in my old age, I spend a great deal of time talking to her.’

He had nothing but wonderful words to say about his new friend. ‘She’s extraordinary!’ he said. And though he came up against some opposition about his ability to look after a dog in his age, it seemed a placid rescue of nearly 15 years old would be the exact fit. ‘She wants to be loved and that’s absolutely perfect for what Dad wanted,’ his daughter added. 

However, interestingly, Philip had plenty more to speak of than just affection towards his latest little canine. As a former member of the Royal Air Force, assigned on lookout for Russian aircrafts along the North Sea, he has done a lot of travelling in his lifetime and had a plethora of fascinating stories to impart. 

Namely, he shared his memories of The Blitz, when at ages seven and eight he would stand at the window and watch the bombers coming over. He described the sight ‘like a sort of firework display’ in a brutal but honest comparison. And when considering the difficult query of what he deemed worse, The Blitz or The Corona Virus Pandemic, he answered almost instantly; ‘I think this is far worse’.

‘You can’t see it for a start,’ he explained. ‘It’s invisible and there’s no sign of it ending.’ He joked, ‘At least with the Germans, you could see them coming.’

Though it is hard to liken anything to the severity and destruction of the wars, he rightly suggests this pandemic is unique in the sense it has left many to endure under the ‘invisible’. Those in the community who are lucky enough to have so far escaped the fast-spreading virus’s clutches must rely on media reports to inform of its devastating impacts. As death tolls rise in digital graphs, retailers in town shut their doors, hospitals reach full capacity and politicians debate over the nation’s next actions, people remain frustratingly isolated - in many more ways than one. 

So, looking beyond the mask and the sickness itself to the doors of neighbours, friends and family, it seems there is a growing need to recognise the mental implications of a pandemic such as this one. And while people grapple with how to help one another in combatting those persistent, pessimistic moods, many are now questioning how to help themselves.

For one man, a sweet and loving dog might just have been the solution.