At doggie daycare, a pandemic puppy spends his first day without mom and dad

“Oh my gosh, Pluto, you’re going to have so much fun today,” Katt Ortiz-Manalo Aubry recalled saying from the passenger’s seat. Her husband, Robin Aubry, looked at him through the mirror.

The car door opened, and the seven-month-old Irish Doodle bounded to the front door of Patrick’s Pet Care, a “dog Montessori school” that focuses on each pup’s “physical, mental and emotional needs.”

The idea, which the Aubrys had discussed over many months, was for Pluto to become accustomed to time without them before they hope to return to the office and start teaching yoga in person this fall.

But as the 30-pound ball of fur sniffed around the door of the day care in Northeast Washington, the couple couldn’t help but wonder how he’d fare on his own. And just as daunting, they realized in that moment, was how they would get through their day without him.