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Original photo by Allegra Smith-Herriott

First Month With My New Puppy

As a 22-year-old university student living alone, in the midst of a pandemic, life was increasingly getting harder and harder as time went on. So to cope, I decided to get my very own puppy. 

For the majority of my life, I’ve had a family dog. As an only child, these dogs would instantly become my best friend and sibling. Since moving away from home and not having a constant furry companion by my side, I have been contemplating getting my own dog for a couple of years. Even more so living in isolation over these past couple of months. 

Meet my pandemic puppy, Byron. 

[bf_image id="vnq743s7h79945j4qj6b"] [bf_image id="mc7cfjspm8x3ktpph84n8jt"] On December 1st, 2020, I drove through the worst blizzard of the year to pick up my eight-week-old golden retriever puppy. I had been waiting for this day ever since I decided that I would bring home this little guy back in October. 

Of course, on pick-up day I was faced with horrible weather conditions, spending 6 hours of my day in the car. But nothing was going to stop me from finally being able to bring home my new puppy. 

Having Byron in my life has been the greatest thing of 2020. He’s the best thing that could have happened to me right now, pandemic or not.

I don’t think you can ever be completely ready when bringing home a new puppy. I had researched and purchased everything I needed but when this little guy came tearing through the front door, nothing could have prepared me for the month to come. 

Just about to finish the school semester, I made sure to complete all of my assignments as I knew I would be preoccupied. Usually, the holidays are a relaxing couple of weeks off of school, catching up with friends and family and most importantly, sleep

No one really tells you the amount of work you’re in for when you get a dog. The sleepless nights, sleeping on the actual floor trying to crate train, going outside in bone-chilling temperatures every hour trying to house train, your hands and ankles becoming preferred chew toys, privacy and quiet time becoming non-existent, the list goes on. 

But there are so many positives that outweigh the negatives. I’ve had so many memorable moments with Byron over the past month and a half. Our early morning cuddles, his clumsy behaviour, millions of walks, him almost tearing down our Christmas tree, one hilarious accident in the house, learning his personality and quirks, watching him grow, the endless laughs and cries that I’ve had with him and always having someone who loves you no matter what. It’s play hard, nap hard for him - and for me too! 

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2 months old

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3 months old

​I think I can say for myself and the majority of others, we’ve all had our good days and our bad days throughout this past year. December 1st, 2020 was honestly a day that completely changed my life. 

No matter how sad, angry, frustrated, anxious, or defeated I feel, there’s now one thing that brings me back to reality. My dog. 

No matter how good it may seem on the outside, raising a puppy is hard. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I’ve had my fair share of bad moments with Byron but no matter how frustrated and overwhelmed I am with him and the world, I strap him into his harness, grab my bag of treats and head out the door. 

The amount of people who pass by and smile or stop for a belly rub is too many to count. Every time we come back from a walk (which is several times a day) I am overwhelmed with pride, gratitude, love, and happiness. Each time we come back home, I know that Byron and I have made at least one other person’s day, and that’s more than I could ever ask for. The presence, touch, love and energy of a dog isn’t comparable to anything else in this world. 

Even though this little guy can be a handful, he’s completely changed my life for the better. I’ve now come to terms with the fact that I will never have nice things again, I will always be covered in golden hair for years to come and privacy and quiet time may still be non-existent but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

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Allegra is a third-year Sport Media student at Ryerson University. Growing up living between a hemp farm and the waters of Georgian Bay, her life is strongly centred around the outdoors and environment. Allegra is constantly immersed in sports, sailing, all things health and fitness, while trying to inspire the community. Ambitious in journalism, her dream is to travel the world following her passion for writing, sports, and the outdoors.
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