I love dogs. They bring purpose and joy to my life and I always want them around. There have been very few periods in my life where I have not had a dog and one of those times began unexpectedly in June of 2019 when my husband and I suddenly lost our beloved Newfoundland dog. I knew we would welcome another dog into our home, but I also knew it would take some time before we were ready. I had earmarked Spring of 2020 as the earliest we would be ready to bring a new dog into our home.
Over the fall and winter, we started dreaming and planning for a new dog. We decided on a breed, an Old English Sheepdog of some kind. We found a breeder of Old English Sheepdogs and Sheepadoodles in New Brunswick and we got on the wait list in January 2020. Then we all know what happened two months later.
Since our potential puppy was in a different province from us, we were unable to travel to get it when our name came up on the wait list and we had to wait for the next litter to be born. Two litters came before we the end of the summer and we had the “Atlantic Bubble” allowing us to travel easily between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. We picked up our new puppy in September and named him Gus.
By then the idea of a pandemic puppy had been well established and was almost a cliche. It felt funny to be a part of a pandemic puppy cliche, when it had been our plan to get a puppy prior to the pandemic, but there we were. His vet appointments only allowed one owner in with him, his puppy classes were masked and socially distant, he met our friends and family on FaceTime with a lot of space in between and people couldn’t believe how fast it was growing.
In many ways having a puppy in a pandemic is the same as having one out of a pandemic. There is still house breaking, chewing and the evening witching hour. We also discovered many ways that it was different to have a puppy in a pandemic. We tried to leave him home alone for longer periods of time than would be normal in our new COVID-19 life. I found it very funny to plan to leave your puppy alone rather than to try not to leave it alone! We made sure he had opportunities to socialize with other dogs since we weren’t naturally taking him many places. We made sure we took him in the car for drives even if we didn’t need to bring him with us so he wouldn’t fear the car.
It was a very different puppy experience than I’ve had before, but Gus is no less fun or sweet than any other puppy I’ve met. It has been nice to have a fun and goofy puppy as a distraction from some of the things going on in the world this past year. Even when we look back at 2020 with all it’s faults it will always be the year we got Gus and for that reason I am so glad to have had a pandemic puppy!