Pandemic puppies: Families turn to dogs during quarantine

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By Maya Shah, Staff Reporter

A common problem faced by students during COVID-19 has been boredom, and many families have adopted dogs in an attempt to cope with this feeling. With more time on their hands, families can now turn their attention to an animal, as many have.

Freshman Greta Steege adopted two labradoodles, Charlie and Davis, in September. Her dogs have separation anxiety and have been a bonded pair since they were young. Steege and her family had been looking for a dog, but she said she never expected two, a process that was definitely facilitated by COVID-19.

“My sister started looking on Petfinder, and one morning she went to my mom and she’s like, ‘how do you feel about two dogs?’” Steege said. “We definitely would have gotten a dog, but quarantine sped up our process.”

Despite Steege’s dogs being two years old and well-trained, she says raising them during the pandemic has presented its own set of challenges. She says the main concern is socialization with people and other dogs.

“It’s been hard to train them with new people and stuff, because nobody’s coming over,” Steege said.

Senior Hiya Kothari adopted a goldendoodle this July and agrees that socialization is harder in this environment, especially with a puppy. However, Kothari says that during virtual school, her dog, Milo, offers her a helpful distraction.

“Everytime I have a break I just go and hang out with him,” Kothari said. “It’s actually kind of bad because I end up not focusing that much on school.” 

For Kothari and her family, the decision was all about timing. Previous to COVID-19, it seemed like they had no time for a dog, but that quickly changed. When summer came around, Kothari said boredom had taken over and Milo helped motivate them. 

“Me and my brother were just sitting on our phones and watching TV, like we wouldn’t even leave our house. So now (getting a dog) has really helped getting out of the house and stuff like that,” Kothari said. 

For both, having a dog around has proved to be a useful distraction. The dogs have helped improve the mood around the house and prevented boredom.

“It’s just so nice to have a dog in the house,” Steege said. “It kind of distracts you from everything that’s happening in the world.”

Fun in the Sun: Senior Hiya Kothari spends time with her goldendoodle puppy, Milo, outside. Kothari feels that the introduction of the new puppy into their household lifted spirits and prevented boredom.

Maya Shah can be reached at [email protected]