A few years ago, my family’s beloved dog passed away at the old age of 14, and my parents swore they wouldn’t get another dog for years. Fast forward to COVID-19 and the prospect of spending the next six months at home with absolutely nothing to do meant that my sister and I were on a mission to change their minds. I am not lying when I say that as soon as I dropped my luggage from university, I got to work on finding a puppy for my family.
The research and pleading were rewarded and our little Golden Retriever puppy, Ellie, was born on the 1st of April. Her presence in our home meant that I now spend approximately 75% of my time simply staring at her and speaking in high-pitched baby voices. While she is adorable and does everything those cute puppies on social media do, she is also a handful. Not only does she love chomping on fingers, shoes, toes, and so on, but she enjoys eating her poo. While this sounds funny, trust me it is a serious battle fought on the hourly. Her potty time is a two-man operation, where one person rushes to grab her, while the other races to find the pooper scooper, to snatch up what otherwise would have been eaten in a second. The frustration over her cheekiness is, however, forgotten the moment she looks up at me with those big puppy eyes.
Having a puppy is a lot like having a baby: my nights are interrupted by crying. I love her more than anything, and I worry about her being in danger – a recurring stress factor is the buzzard flying over our garden screeching and looking suspiciously a lot like the bird that snatched that little white dog in The Proposal.
With the ongoing stress of COVID-19 combined with the intense impact of the BLM movement, which is currently rippling worldwide, a puppy is just what the doctor ordered. Pouring my heart out to a creature who does nothing but rest her heavy head upon my lap while looking up at me with wide eyes is a surprisingly good therapy session. Multiple studies show that owning a pet reduces blood pressure and stress, as well as helping fight depression – something I can seriously vouch for.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the darkness in the world or simply need a pick-me-up, I recommend calling up a dog-owning friend and convince them to let you simply be in the presence of their fluffy friend. That little oxytocin boost we humans get from simply looking at a pet is bound to improve your day.
Image: Rana Qaisar via Flickr