Adopting a Dog During the Covid-19 Pandemic


Up until now, I’ve never owned a dog. 

When we got married, my husband and I talked about adopting a dog, but it was never the right time. First, we lived in a tiny condo with no yard. Then, we bought a house that was under constant construction for years so we held off on adopting a dog. After that, our son came along, and then we moved again. Our son was afraid of dogs, so we decided to hold off. Then our daughter was born and she’s kept us on our toes ever since.

When Covid-19 hit, everything changed. We were busy, but a different kind of busy. Being a substitute teacher, I was not working. However, I was in charge of remote learning for our two children, picking up school lunches, and finishing the online classes I was taking. Most of all, I was dealing with my daughter’s boredom and my son’s anxiety and sadness, as well as my own conflicted emotions. 

School ended, and the world kind of stood still. I was unmotivated to do anything around the house, although my to-do list was a mile long. I was having problems sleeping, as were my children. Even when I completed something, I had no sense of accomplishment. To be honest, I was feeling depressed and aimless.

One day early in July, a friend of mine asked me to be a reference for her, as she was adopting two kittens. When I got off the phone with her adoption agent, I decided not to do my housework and procrastinated instead by getting online and searching for local dogs available to adopt. This is something I’ve been known to do once in a while, but honestly, I never had any intention of adopting a dog even then.

As I was searching, I came across a senior dog that was well-trained and family-friendly, who needed a home. I thought that she would be an excellent fit for my reluctant son and for me as a first-time dog owner. I proposed the idea to my husband who was a bit surprised but agreed that it might not be a bad idea to at least meet the dog to see if this was something we wanted to do.

Unfortunately, pet adoption is pretty competitive right now.

My family wasn’t the only group of people looking for something to bring a little joy into their lives. The shelter we were to visit is doing personal dog meet-ups and adoptions by appointment only due to Covid. Basically, you sign up online for an appointment to meet a certain dog or multiple dogs and hope they haven’t been adopted by the person before you.

This is exactly what happened when we signed up to meet the first dog. She was adopted 24 hours before we even got to meet her. Our kids were a bit disappointed because I’d been talking it up for a day or two, but we used it as a good life lesson and said we’d watch for the next dog who looked like it would be a good fit for our lifestyle.

For the next couple of days, I scoured a couple of websites. Lo and behold, I pulled up the page of a small, 3-year-old dog with little floppy ears. It appeared as if she would have a bit more energy than we were bargaining for, but we thought she’d be worth visiting.

It was a Friday and all of the appointments for the rest of the week were booked.

By chance, I checked the Saturday appointments one more time that evening. It turned out someone had canceled their appointment and there was an opening. My husband and I put our names in for the vacant appointment right away.

Thankfully, we did not have to deal with disappointment again. The little dog we wanted to see was still available when we arrived at the shelter the next day.

We spent 45 minutes with the spry, energetic dog. By the end, it was clear that she wasn’t what we had started looking for, but she was exactly what our family needed. Poppy, as we call her now, came home with us immediately.

Dog lying down

Our first days of dog ownership have not been without challenges, but I do not regret adopting Poppy one bit. My son is already seeking her out instead of constantly side-stepping away from her, and my daughter takes her responsibility to feed Poppy her dinner very seriously. Both laugh at Poppy’s silliness. Both of them are sleeping better. I no longer stay up in the wee hours of the morning with my mind going a mile a minute. I am falling asleep earlier, getting up earlier, walking more, and exercising frequently. My motivation to keep my house clean has returned, and so has my sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

dog jumping up tree
Poppy loves using trees as a springboard to jump as high as she can.

When Poppy isn’t running around, she’s cuddled up on a futon next to us or sitting in our laps. She is full of energy when she is outside and still needs some training, and everything she does is endearing. My whole family is so enchanted by her. 

Since adopting a dog, my home feels happier and more full.

My husband finds it funny that I took to having a dog so quickly because he was the one who grew up with dogs, not me. We know Poppy’s going to be a little bit of a project, but we both agree, she’s a project I am ready for and one that I needed right now.

Now, I am not suggesting that adopting a dog is what everyone needs right now during Covid-19. Before we adopted a dog, we made sure we had the means to care for Poppy and carefully considered what would happen once the pandemic dust settles.

However, I wanted to share our story so if you’ve been questioning the idea of adopting a dog, you won’t be afraid to just go and meet some dogs, or put in an application to an agency to see if they can help you find just the dog you’re looking for.

Have any of you adopted a pet during this crazy time of pandemic? How has or hasn’t it helped your own well-being? 

If you’re looking for a new furry friend in Vermont right now, you’ll find that there’s a pretty high demand. However, due to Covid-19, some shelters and agencies are not open or not currently processing applications, some are processing applications slowly, and some shelters are open by appointment only. Here are some good options for you to check out if you are interested in adopting a dog in Vermont (if you have a favorite that is not on the list, add it in the comment section below):

Passion 4 Paws

Humane Society of Chittenden County, South Burlington

All Breed Rescue, Williston

North Country Animal League

Franklin County Animal Rescue, St. Albans

Central Vermont Humane Society, East Montpelier

Homeward Bound: Addison County’s Humane Society, Middlebury

For the Love of Dogs Vermont

Vermont Dog Rescue

Rutland County Humane Society, Pittsford

Adopting a Dog During the Covid-19 Pandemic


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