Puppy Therapy: How My Family's COVID Puppy Brings Joy to My Daily Life
With the isolated quarantine life over the past year, I'm sure you've heard of people getting pets to keep them company, + my family is one of them.
Exactly one day before I arrived in Iowa from the Philippines in May, our family dog, Lucky, died of old age. It was like he was holding on until I came back, but he just couldn't make it.
It broke my heart, as I didn't get to see him one last time, + I was also dealing with having to say goodbye to my own dog that I left in the Philippines in the care of a coworker.
During the summer, I realized that with the travel ban + COVID situation, I had no idea when I would get back to the Philippines. I felt guilty about having to leave my dog behind for so many months, so I knew it would be best for him to be permanently with a family who would always be there for him + wouldn't be leaving the country for extended periods of time.
This situation contributed a lot to my anxiety, + I would be up late at night, have nightmares about it, + was constantly feeling guilty + worrying about how I would find my dog a new home while I was over here in the states.
So, I gave him to a lovely family + he's now living a happy life with owners who are there for him, but after that experience I told myself I was done with dogs. It was too much on my emotions for me to handle, especially during this time.
Then, my family made the spontaneous decision to get a puppy from a farmer nearby.
My feelings were still raw from rehoming my own dog, so I didn't even go with when we picked out the new puppy + brought him home.
The family named him Gunner, + I kept my distance at first, not ready to get attached, but that didn't last for long.
Soon I was able to open my heart to this new adorable, goofy, + playful bear-cub-of- a-dog.
He's an Anatolian Shepard/Collie mix, + as my dad likes to say, he could win a contest for "Handsomest Dog."
During the fall I would wake up in the afternoons (Philippine time schedule) + drink my coffee, have my breakfast, + pray outside while Gunner kept me company.
Then one day he was big enough to stand on a bench outside our kitchen window + peer inside to see us, + ever since then we've been opening the window whenever we're in the room. He'll put his head inside + rest it on the windowsill, watching us as we cook, clean, + eat our meals.
During this cold Iowa winter that I never thought I would experience again, Gunner has been my joy. I love waking up + seeing him taking a nap in the snow, or playing in it if it happens to be snowing that day, + opening the window during our family dinner so that he can still join us from outside.
He makes me laugh, + not many things have done that for me over this past year. Honestly, I can imagine God looking down at our farm from Heaven + laughing at this hilarious creature that he created.
The way he eats snow like it's the best stuff on earth, + the way he prances around + does his famous Gunner Dance (trust me, this will make you laugh guaranteed), the way he stares at us through the window like he's staring into our souls, + the way he howls at us as if he's trying to speak--they're all little things that add joy to my days.
Gunner is the furry blessing that I didn't know our family needed. Now I can't imagine our farm without him running around it + playing all day.
It's going to break my heart when I have to leave him someday soon + fly back to the Philippines.
My family jokes that I'm going to miss Gunner more than them (this is false, of course). But I can't deny that the next time I'm home I will run from the car in anticipation of a great big Gunner hug.
Do you have a COVID pet that brings you joy? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below :)