Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved dogs. I thought they were the cutest living beings in the entire world. When I was in elementary school, it seemed like most of my classmate’s families were adopting puppies. I begged my parents to adopt one, but they said no. They warned me of the responsibility of having a puppy. Instead, they offered to adopt a parakeet. I ended up loving my birds, as they were small and easy to manage as pets (Rest in paradise Chester, Kiwi and Cookie).
One day, while I was away for university, my sister called to tell me that she and my parents were going to see a dog breeder the next morning. Were they really considering adopting a puppy? I was surprised and excited, but also confused. We only ever had birds for pets. I also wouldn’t exactly get to enjoy having a puppy around since I was living away from home. I came home that weekend because it was my reading week and I wanted to go to the breeder with them. When I came home, I learned that they had apparently been doing research for months and were ready to adopt. That weekend we adopted our cute little labradoodle.
Since it was my reading week and my sister had to go back to high school on Monday, I was stuck with the puppy for the week. In the beginning, I wasn’t exactly on board with having one. After one week with her, I quickly learned how much of a responsibility it was to have a puppy. She was a baby, so I couldn’t just leave the house when I wanted to or go on late-night adventures with my friends. The poor thing needed attention, proper sleep and needed to go pee EVERY HOUR.
I didn’t even like her name, Skippy. I’m sure if my family is reading this right now, they are rolling their eyes because my sister and I fought over her name for the longest time. At the end of the day, I was going back to school and the responsibility of the puppy would be on my sister. It was only fair to allow my sister to choose her name. I learned to accept her name, but at the time, I was so mad that she was being named after a brand of peanut butter. People still mistake her for a boy and her name doesn’t exactly help, but I still love her. There’s a longer and more significant story behind her name, but I won’t get into the details of that.
Over the next year, I would come back and forth from home to school. Each time I left home after a visit; I would miss Skippy even more. I even created a dog album for her on my phone. Any time I was stressed with school or friends, I would watch videos of her to make me happy again.
Fast forward a year later, I needed to move back home because of the pandemic. I was so upset because I felt like my life was being taken away from me. The only beings that are benefiting from this pandemic are pets. Skippy probably doesn’t know what is going on, but I have a theory that all pets somehow communicated and wished upon a star for something like this to happen. They get want they want, now that their owners are staying home with them.
After a few months in quarantine, I realized that having a dog isn’t bad at all. I’m glad we adopted her when we did, as the cost to adopt has tripled in price since the start of the pandemic. Now that everyone is spending more time at home, the demand for dogs has risen. Over time I became a “dog person,” meaning that I would turn down invites to go places because I needed to take care of Skippy. My phone became flooded with pictures of her and we began to spoil her with new treats and toys, just because her reaction brought us happiness and joy. I think most dog owners can relate.
I realized that petting her fur is like a form of therapy that helps to reduce my stress and anxiety. She gives me comfort and helps me cope with the social isolation and loneliness caused by the pandemic. Honestly, some days are really hard for me to get out of bed in the morning because I often feel really down and hopeless. However, knowing that Skippy is waiting downstairs helps me get out of bed. She also gives me a reason to get fresh air every day, now that I join my mom and sister on their daily afternoon walks with her.
If you are considering adopting a puppy, I think it’s a great idea, but make sure to do your research. Falling in love with a puppy is easy, but I hear a lot of people talking about wanting to adopt puppies without understanding the true responsibilities associated with bringing them into your life. You can’t compare them to taking care of a fish. Puppies are like children. They need just as much love and attention. Medical bills can also be expensive, so you would need to make sure you can provide financially for your pup. Very often, dogs end up in shelters because people didn’t ask themselves if they were truly ready to accept the responsibility. Make sure to think seriously about the long-term commitment and how your life will change.
Skippy is now my best friend, and the best companion to help me get through this pandemic. I encourage anyone who is ready to accept this responsibility, to adopt a dog. Maybe even research some local dog shelters and rescue one! Whatever you choose, having a dog is a really rewarding experience and one of the best things that happened to my family.