Howling for hope

Coloradans spark worldwide movement to honor medical workers


Monarch teachers Mr. and Mrs. Farrell howl on their back deck at 8:00 PM. This has become a nightly ritual from them and many others.

Lia Farrell

8:00 PM, on the dot. In hospitals and nursing homes across town, stressed, overworked front line medical workers change their 12-hour shifts. In backyards and on apartment balconies, people from all walks of life remind each other they’re not alone by howling their hearts out.

The howl, as some call it, is a chance to do something with other people from a safe distance, a chance for little kids to get their feral, cooped-up energy out, and a chance for dogs to go absolutely ham with no consequences.

“It really makes a new way to show support for the nurses and kind of build community solidarity. We’re all in this together,” Monarch social studies teacher Mr. Dave Farrell said.

Mr. Farrell’s wife, French teacher Jenifer Farrell, agrees. “I really enjoy going out and connecting with neighbors that I know and neighbors that I don’t know, even if it’s just for a few minutes,” she said.

The reality of our current situation is that there’s a shared sacrifice. From those who have been spending hours at the sewing machine making masks to everybody giving up their social lives, this pandemic has affected everybody. “The howl is just a way to acknowledge that together,” Mr. Farrell said.

People also just want to get out. With the cabin fever everybody’s been feeling, going outside and just going wild at night is cathartic for many who need it.

“I think that people of all ages enjoy getting out,” Ms. Farrell said. “I know that I see our neighbors who are older outside howling, and I hear little kids from the neighborhood howling.”

Mr. Farrell said that humans aren’t the only ones getting in on the act. “It’s also a great way to teach our dog how to howl,” he said.

But why howling? According to the Denver Post, the new nightly activity began in Denver with partners Shelsea Ochoa and Brice Maiurro, who started the Facebook group Go Outside and Howl at 8 PM. The group now has over 550,000 members, with participants from around the world.

“What’s really neat about this too is that it started in Colorado as a local group, and it’s spread around the world,” Ms. Farrell said. “I’ve heard about people doing this in Mexico and people doing this in other countries, it’s pretty cool.”