A new source of smiles: the joys of adopting a puppy

Laying+in+the+sun%2C+pit+bull-mix+Cali+chews+a+stick.+Adopting+a+puppy+can+be+a+great+source+of+laughter+and+fun.++

Rowan O'Flanagan

Laying in the sun, pit bull-mix Cali chews a stick. Adopting a puppy can be a great source of laughter and fun.

Rowan O'Flanagan, Staffer

When my family adopted our new puppy from her foster mom, she was only about ten pounds, with a floppy style of walking, a constant little wrinkle between her eyes and a tendency to abruptly sit anytime she heard a loud noise – in shorter terms, absolutely adorable 

After a contentious multi-day naming process in which everything from “Green Bean” to “Juniper” to “Peanut Butter” was suggested and shot down, my family finally decided on the name “Cali” – an allusion to a state which we’d visited a few years prior and halfheartedly wished we lived in.  

As we later found out through a dog breed DNA test, Cali is mostly a pit-bull, with a plethora of other breeds mixed in. Because of thiswe have only the vaguest idea of what she will look like when she’s fully grown – a spot of mystery and excitement within the monotony of the pandemic.  

In fact, my family is far from alone in adopting a puppy during the pandemic. In an article published in April of 2020, the LA Times wrote that “Shelter and rescue organizations nationwide are reporting unprecedented interest in fostering and adopting as people who are sheltering in place turn to kittens and puppies, dogs and cats, and here and there a rabbit, for comfort during the coronavirus crisis.” 

It’s not hard to see why. Since we adopted her in November, Cali has provided a near constant source of joy and laughter to my family. The first time I was quarantined, I completed many assignments and zoom calls with Cali in my lap. When she’s not curled up in a ball on the couch, Cali is often lumbering around the room with a toy or rolling on the carpet. You can’t help but smile when a puppy is prancing towards you.  

Of course, adopting a puppy isn’t a decision which should be made on a whim. When they’re young, puppies need near constant attention. Most have a high affinity for chewing things and lack potty training or a regular sleep schedule. Depending on the situation they’re coming from, some dogs may be especially fearful or have issues acclimating to life with a family.  

With mutts like Cali, the unpredictability of their growth, though exciting, can also be an issue. Far too often, people adopt puppies while they’re small and cute, only to return them a few months later when they grow into large dogs.  

None of this is to say that adopting a puppy isn’t incredibly rewarding – while puppies provide an incredible amount of love and humor, there’s also a great satisfaction in knowing that you’ve given an animal a home which might not otherwise have one. When properly considered and prepared for, adoption benefits both the person and the pet.  

Now almost six months old, Cali weighs in at around 30 pounds and is estimated to grow to around 60, but of course only time will tell. As Cali has tripled in size, becoming a little less floppy and a little more confident, she’s retained her effervescent nature and undeniable cuteness. Nothing compares to a puppy when it comes to brightening up a crazy day, week, month or year.