By Alesha Capone
A photo of eight-year-old Zach and his dog waiting for the first visitors to arrive at their family home after a stage three lockdown last year tells a powerful story.
Zach’s mother Cher Dooling captured the image of her son, who is now aged nine, and the family’s adopted British Bulldog, Daisy, on May 16, 2020.
Ms Dooling has submitted the photo to a project run by Wyndham council’s libraries, to collect community stories about the effects of COVID-19 on life.
The stories will be preserved on the Wyndham History website and in the library’s collections for future generations.
Ms Dooling said she took the picture of Zach and Daisy before the arrival of her cousin from Narre Warren, who had a baby last February.
“Zach was thrilled that we were entertaining,” Ms Dooling said.
“He helped set the table and prepare the meal.
“The pic was taken about 10 minutes before our guests arrived.
“Daisy could sense the excitement in the air and joined Zach at the front door.”
Ms Dooling said that Zach loved interacting with the three-month-old baby, including feeding him and holding him.
“Daisy was also very interested in the new baby – she kept nudging his (Zach’s) foot, following whoever was holding the baby,” she said.
Ms Dooling said Zach and Daisy are “inseparable”.
The family adopted Daisy in 2017, originally intending her to be a companion for their older Dachshund.
“We thought that a lazy Bulldog would be perfect for an ‘old lady’ sausage dog to snuggle up to,” Ms Dooling said.
“But their personalities are polar opposites.
“Daisy and Zach get on really well, a real blessing to have her in our home, such a playful, pleasant Bulldog.
“She always kept close to him, following him around the house, joining him on most of his Zoom calls, even helping out by playing soccer in the backyard for PE assignments.”
Zach’s teachers all know Daisy’s name and often greet her during online learning sessions.
Ms Dooling said she believed that Daisy was the reason that Zach coped so well during lockdown.
“That is the reason why I sent through the featured photo,” she said.
“It tells a much bigger story about a love and friendship between a little boy and his beloved companion.”
Ms Dooling said she would encourage other residents to make a submission to the Our Wyndham COVID-19 Stories project.
“This is such a unique time in history,” she said.
“Everyone’s experience and approach to being locked down is different.
Who would have ever thought that the world would literally come to a standstill?”
Ms Dooling said that positive stories that have come out of lockdown.
“I know so many have lost loved ones, and have had loss of income and work, with dramatic changes to the way they lived,” she said.
“But on the flip side, so many have been resourceful and optimistic, doing the best they can with what they have.
“Our experience during lockdown was mixed, but mostly, we were okay.
“Both my husband and myself were able to keep our full time jobs, working remotely from home.
“Zach coped well with remote learning.
“Our dogs loved having us around all day.”
Submissions to the Our Wyndham COVID-19 Stories project can be in the form of either a photo, a one-minute audio recording or a 500-word letter to future generations.