COVID has brought problems of many kinds to people, even here in Margaret River.
For some people their pets are an important source of solace, comfort and amusement at any time.
Margaret River's University of the Third Age (U3A) is offering a new course by veterinarian Natalie Bowskill that focusses on helping owners give their pet a better life, and themselves less 'pet-stress'.
In three short sessions, Bowskill will outline key factors to keep your pet healthy, happy and vibrant as well as providing practical tips, and sharing her experiences and anecdotes.
Topics covered will include Pet First Aid for cats, dogs and backyard chickens and participants will also have a chance to discuss issues specific to their pets.
If you don't have a pet but are thinking of getting a one, Bowskill will outline key considerations to ensure you get a pet that matches your lifestyle and personality.
U3A Margaret River offers local over-50s an opportunity to broaden their horizons through new learnings.
People can join or re-join on line and enrolments for semester one are now still open.
Course presenter Martin Ringer said that while the Margaret River community has been very lucky to avoid direct health impacts from the pandemic, many residents have been affected through families marooned overseas, lack of visits from loved ones, or being unable to travel as planned for 2020 and 2021.
Some people have been isolated from friends for several weeks or longer.
"The advent of COVID-19 has changed what we think about, talk about, worry about and, often, how we feel," he said.
Ringer brings his professional background in organisational psychology to a course which introduces ways of dealing with the personal and broader impact of changes resulting from the pandemic.
Participants will explore topics that have contributed to a global increase in anxiety.
Ringer emphasised that the program is not a counselling course but will provide participants with skills to understand the basic nature of conversation in a safe and collaborative space.
"If you are not a U3A member and are looking for new experiences, take comfort in the fact that participants in U3A courses always learn a great deal and make new friends but never have to write assignments or exams!"
Existing and new members can now enrol in these courses and 26 others online, through the U3A Margaret River website at https://u3amr.org.au.
For those who find technology daunting, you can also enrol in person on Thursday 14 January from 12 noon to 2 pm at the Mainbreak Room, Shire Offices, Wallcliffe Road, Margaret River.
Further details and a full U3A 28 course program for Semester 1 2021 are available on the website, or email U3A Secretary Greg Skyles at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.