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During the summer of 2020, my family decided to get a "pandemic puppy." 


My siblings and I have been trying to convince our parents to adopt a dog for years, and their excuse has always been that none of us were home enough to take care of one. The pandemic has had many terrible effects on everyone, but a positive one is while people were home more, it allowed them time to adopt animals. 


Since the start of the pandemic, many pets have been adopted, which is great. In July, because both my parents were working from home, and my brother and I were anticipating attending school virtually from home, we decided it was the perfect time to adopt our new family member, Archie.


Archie is a 50 pound, 3-year-old hound mix, and he loves everyone. He is such a sweet and happy dog, and was already well trained when we adopted him. When he first came home with us, he was very shy and scared, but he quickly became comfortable with my family and our cats. 


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Like many people, I found my mental health deteriorating since the start of the pandemic. I lost a lot of my motivation, and felt really bored and lonely being stuck at home all the time. I didn’t realize at first, but Archie ended up having such a positive impact on mental wellbeing.


Once Archie was home with us, we started taking him on multiple walks each day. I was spending more time outside than I had in months, and this alone was making me feel so much better overall. I was practically locked in my room for the first few months of lockdown, and felt really lonely. Having Archie gave me a reason to spend time outside, and I loved playing and walking with him.


Aside from just spending more time outside, Archie became a companion for each member of my family. He loved spending time with all of us playing, cuddling, and doing his tricks. I had so much fun teaching him to high five and roll over with my mom. We also started taking Archie to a dog park (which was so much fun), where we were able to meet so many other adorable dogs. 


Another thing I loved was when Archie would jump into my bed each morning and curl up against me until I got up. He also laid next to me as I did my virtual classes and homework, which made the process much more enjoyable. Having a furry friend to go through the day with made me feel so much less alone and much happier overall. 


Deciding to adopt a dog is a big decision and a big time commitment, but if you are able to, I think it is definitely worth it. While getting a pet isn’t a replacement for professional help, pets do provide a lot of emotional support, and benefit people’s mental and physical wellbeing. Having Archie has made my life infinitely better, and I hope that my family is able to have as much of a positive impact on his life as he has on ours.

Grace Martorano is a senior at Penn State studying Astrophysics with a passion for writing. In her free time she loves songwriting, and she plans to pursue a career in science writing after graduation.
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