No one ever prepares you for what it’s like to raise a newborn during a global pandemic. We didn’t prepare for this — it just kind of happened. We’d been wanting another puppy for a very long time, and we got the call in mid-late January that there was a litter just born with a black female. Our little girl. I spent the whole beginning of 2020 filled with nerves and anticipation, waiting and preparing to bring her home.
This picture above is from February 15, when we first met our little Missy Moo (aka little miss Keira). At that time, the virus was in its early days. There was landfall in the US, but it was presumed to be confined. Now we know that it was likely spreading around much more back then than initially thought. Makeshift cloth masks weren’t even a thing yet, and passing a puppy from one person to another was as non-taboo as shaking hands (shaking hands… LE GASP!). Little Keira was the runt of the litter. She was so tiny, and my only concern was keeping her warm. Life was good.
A few weeks later, cases were confirmed in Massachusetts and rapidly spreading. A state of emergency was declared in Massachusetts on March 10. And we brought this little girlie home on March 14. Here she is!! She fell asleep in my arms on the way home. Our love was meant to be.
Getting her was planned, but the pandemic was TOTALLY unplanned. However, we were totally in love all the same, and totally responsible for caring for her. Raising a puppy during the pandemic definitely had its ups and downs. Let’s put it this way — Keira has known no other life than one that is in a pandemic. Her puppyhood and Cormac’s puppyhood were totally different, both in good ways and in bad.
We were truly blessed during the first few weeks at home with her since my fiancé was forced to work from home. We didn’t have to worry about who was going to run home to feed her during lunch time, or who was going to take her out every two hours to do her business. We didn’t have to pay for puppy daycare, and she learned how to walk on a leash from a very early age because we had nothing else to do. When she got sick and after she was spayed, I was there at home taking care of her every second of every day until she was better.
We were able to give her our full attention, but sometimes I think the attention was too much. We often tried to put her in a separate room to have some peaceful alone time while we worked in the next room, but the little rascal knew that we were home and would howl on end until our ears started to bleed and someone came to release her from the dungeon that we had locked her up in (aka her cage). We started to get complaints from neighbors who were also working from home and didn’t want a dog crying in the background of their Zoom meeting, so she just had to be with us all day. On the other hand, our first dog became very comfortable staying at home alone without us from the time that he was very young. Keira now loves her cage and is fine when we leave home and surprisingly doesn’t have separation anxiety from us (thank you Lord!), but it’s something that we really had to work on. And I do think she has some separation anxiety from Cormac, just because they’re like peas and carrots.
The second obstacle we faced was the difficulty of her not being able to socialize with other dogs besides Cormac. She would see other dogs in passing as we took her on walks, but because of the virus we couldn’t get too close to our neighbors, and not as many people were going to the dog park to play. When Cormac was a pup, he had his whole gang of friends that he hung out with every single day. He even knew all of their names. I think he was especially blessed to have this, and I wish that Keira could’ve had the same. And even though she’s totally trained now, we couldn’t take her to puppy training classes. I would’ve loved being able to have that time to connect with her every week at class, and it would’ve been such a great opportunity for her to get out to socialize, meet new friends, and learn how to be a good girl in public. We finally have her going to daycare now, and I hope she learns so many things like how to greet new friends, both human and canine alike, and what is and isn’t okay when interacting with other dogs. It’d be a good thing to learn that biting other dogs’ heads is a big no-no, and Cormac just allows it at this point.
Finally, it took us so long to get her to the vet. Right after we got her, my vet cancelled our first puppy appointment and shut their doors because of the virus. We were finally able to get her in after several weeks once they started to do doorside service, however it took longer than I would’ve liked for her to get her first shots. I was concerned that she was going to come down with something. I even frantically called several vet clinics in town asking for immunizations, but literally no one was accepting new patients. All we could do was wait and try to keep her as protected as possible. Now, we are able to take her to the vet and just wait in the car, but she has a lot of anxiety about the vet because we’ve never been able to go in with her. It’s a big bad scary place and she looks like she’s being dragged into a torture chamber when they try to take her in. Cormac doesn’t have a care in the world and just strolls along like he’s been doing this his whole life.
The last thing I will say is that for awhile when everyone was stocking up on food, we were concerned about the stores running out of puppy food. I bought the biggest bags you could find of the adult and puppy Purina Pro Plan because I was NOT having my labradors go hungry! Those huge ass bags got us through quarantine, dammit. But not being able to go to the pet store as easily to get new toys or treats was also a struggle. Keira has never set food in a PetSmart, and that place was Cormac’s candy store.
Overall, getting a puppy during quarantine was an interesting experience. Keira has her quirks and oftentimes it was a struggle to make sure that she could cope in the real world, but she definitely turned out just fine. My little girl!! (proud mama moment).