How A Pandemic Puppy Taught Me To Accept Being Loved
A very Disney story.
Christmas, 2019: I am in a bar and I run a friend from high school who had been sharing photos on her Instagram of the most adorable puppy I had ever seen. I go up to her and we hug and I’m like, “Where did you get that dog?” And she tells me it is called a Pomsky, a Pomeranian-Husky made through the miracle of medical science. I tell her I want one and she sends me her breeder’s name. The next day I look the breeder up and the dogs cost many thousands of dollars and I decide I can’t afford it. I abandon my dreams of having such an adorable dog.
I go back to the Mother Jones office after the holiday and mention this to my former colleague Jamilah King, who has her own puppy that she brings into work every once in a while. I ask her if I should get a dog even though I live alone in an apartment and haven’t had one since I was a child in a house with a yard. She says, “Yes, my answer to this question is always yes. Getting a dog is always a good idea.”
I appreciate her insight and put in the back of my mind the possibility of getting a dog, even if it can’t be as cute as my friend from school’s dog, sometime in the distant future.
Two months later, the pandemic hits and I go from working in an office five times a week and socializing every day to being a shut-in locked away in my Brooklyn apartment for weeks on end. Jamilah’s advice moves from the back burner to the front burner and I start prowling adoption sites.
I am not the only person who has decided they want a dog in March of 2020 so there are not any immediately available. I decide that maybe I am willing to spring for one from a breeder.
If I am going to pay for a dog, though, I decide I want a Pomsky and am willing to abandon any principles about the ethical provenance of dog purchasing, which is to say I made amends with the fact that I am going to buy a dog from a puppy mill.
Even having decided to do this, it’s a seller’s market. I cannot get a Pomsky anytime soon.
Then, after days of this, I contact some Amish puppy mill breeder in Ohio about a Pomsky named Twila, that was born in January 2020. He tells me that he has had lots of people asking for her and she’ll probably sell immediately. (You legally can’t deliver a puppy before like 10 weeks and Twila just hit that mark.) I say I’m interested. He says, yes or no. I think about it for a few minutes and then decide that if I am willing to spend $500 on a PlayStation 4 I never use, I should be willing to spend $800 on a dog. I say yes. He is apparently not the most devout Amish man and accepts my money via Venmo.
A few days later, this other Amish guy arrives at my Brooklyn Heights apartment with Twila. He drove there in a minivan and I’m assuming is also not terribly devout. BUt Twila is just like the photo. Adorable.
I bring Twila up to my apartment, where I have purchased a crate and all the things the internet tells you to buy when you get a puppy. I immediately change her name to Hadley (after consulting a few Googles about whether it was ok to change a 10-week-old dog’s name.)
Hadley is scared and shy and I make a bed for her in the crate with lots of food and water. Because I am a sucker, I do not actually close the door.
The next morning, I wake up to Hadley licking my earlobe. The crate will basically never be used.
I bring her to the vet and get her her shots and take her for walks and spend all of my time with her.
This is April 2020. There the dog parks are closed by the city. Literally, they have chains and locks on them…She does not get to socialize with anyone but me.
I like her a lot! She is exactly what I wanted. A beautiful adorable little dog that didn’t bark and didn’t cause problems. She did shit and piss everywhere, but that is par for the course. I’m thinking “good dog,” but I’m not some whacko. I do not immediately fall head over heels in love with this dog. She did not change my life.