Wow! It’s been a long time since I updated my blog, and I apologize for being away so long. I’ve had plenty of time to write but zero motivation. If I’m being honest, after returning from Japan and adjusting to a strange new normal back in South Carolina, I lost my desire to create content. I spent weeks sending job applications into the void while missing my life back in Japan, and I wallowed a bit too much in my own self-pity. I’m embarrassed to say I let my mental and physical health go. It was not a good look, and something needed to change. When things feel hectic and overwhelming, we have to focus on what we can actually control, so I got off social media, and I got a dog! Why did I do this? Although social media is great for staying connected, it has the potential to be addictive and depressing. And dogs are wonderful, happy beings full of love. What more can I say here?
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted a puppy, and I told myself when I came back from Japan I’d get one. After my dad agreed (because I’m living in his house after all), I pulled together my savings and stimulus check to adopt Evie, a miniature goldendoodle. It’s been a lot of hard work raising her for the past seven weeks, but she is my whole world, and I love her more than anything. (Of course, I still love my cat, Link!)
Now, before anyone criticizes me for not adopting a puppy from the shelter, all dogs need homes. I don’t believe in puppy mills or purchasing animals from neglectful environments. No-kill shelters, rescues, and reputable breeders are the best way to go. Crocketdoodles hand-raises happy and healthy poodle hybrid pups who are the perfect addition to any family. Their application process is very selective, and they only choose families who would truly be a good fit for a puppy. Anyone looking for a furry friend should do their research and make sure all animals are properly cared for and given appropriate medical treatment. Also, funnily enough, my local shelter had zero puppies when I was searching for my perfect companion. I guess everyone decided to get a dog during quarantine, and I can’t blame them. Pets are amazing all the time, but during a long period of uncertainty and isolation, their presence is even more comforting.
Of course, taking care of a young puppy is a big responsibility full of sleepless nights, house training accidents, teething, and worry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught Evie with something in her mouth and gone into full panic mode trying to get it out. Putting her to bed was also very exhausting in the beginning—she did not like her crate and cried for what felt like hours. And once she settled down, she’d have to go potty again in just a few hours. I felt like I was constantly awake. But, she has become my best friend, and now I can’t imagine life without her. As our bond has strengthened, I’ve felt less depression and anxiety and a lot more happiness. (I’m sure staying away from Instagram for a bit has also contributed to the positivity.)
There are a lot of benefits to having a puppy. Maintaining her routine keeps me on a healthy schedule. I can’t sleep in every morning anymore because she wakes me up promptly at 7:00 every day. I go to bed early so I wake up energized and ready to play with her. You can’t snooze a puppy who has to pee first thing in the morning. Now that Evie is older, we are both more comfortable in our routine, and I am getting a lot more sleep.
I’m still adjusting to being a dog mom, but it’s starting to feel a lot easier. Recently, I’ve been able to prioritize my health in other ways. I’m exercising, cooking, and writing again while still looking for job opportunities. I’ve even become friends with other dog owners. Things feel a lot less bleak, and I know good things are coming. For anyone seriously thinking of adopting a puppy, I say go for it. But disclaimer, while a dog won’t solve all your problems, they will motivate you to do better and work on yourself.
If you decide to pull the trigger, your pet’s unconditional love will be the greatest reward. Many people are stuck working from home or taking classes online. If you’re lacking social interaction with humans, a dog may be the perfect housemate. However, don’t make this decision rashly. Make sure you have the time and energy to devote to your new puppy because they will rely on you for everything.
What does your schedule look like now, and how would a puppy change things? Are you willing to give up sleeping through the night for a few weeks? Can you afford several rounds of vaccines, spaying/neutering costs, food, supplies, and obedience classes? If you are heading back to work or school soon, will your schedule allow you to come home during the day for a few minutes to let your pup out and feed her? If not, can you afford a dog walker? Do you have a partner, parent, or roommate who can lend a hand, or will the dog be solely your responsibility?
Write down a list of pros and cons be honest when answering these essential questions. It’s not fair to bring home a puppy only to re-home him a few weeks later because you acted impulsively. If you find you are truly ready for a furry companion, then nothing is stopping you from picking up your new best friend. Good luck, and feel free to share how adopting a puppy (or any pet) has helped get you through quarantine!