The Joys of a Pandemic Puppy


Like many families this year, we found our world quickly changed in mid-March. We went from having at least one activity each evening (and sometimes one activity per kid!) to nothing on our calendar, without much notice. After realizing that the pandemic was going to last longer than a couple of weeks, we made difficult decisions to cut back on our planned summer activities and vacations.

This suddenly left us with a lot of free time on our hands. Sure, we enjoyed binge watching shows and movies, catching up on our reading, and taking daily walks, but we still had a lot of down time. We quickly learned that we were way too busy in our pre-pandemic lives, but we felt guilty that the kids were missing out on all the fun we had planned. Of course, we are grateful that this was the biggest burden that 2020 has brought us so far, and we certainly don’t take that for granted. But, we still brainstormed ways that we could keep the kids safe yet occupy their time through the summer months.

In mid-April, I saw a Facebook post announcing that a local dog rescue, Canine Collective, would soon have puppies available. We were familiar with Canine Collective, having adopted our first dog from them seven years ago. As soon as I saw the puppy post, my mind began weighing the idea of adopting another dog. We certainly had enough time to devote to the care of a new pup, and it would definitely give the kids a fun project for the summer. Supporting Canine Collective again was another plus, so we decided to go ahead and submit an application.

We were excited to find that we were approved to adopt one of the puppies, and then we had to wait until they were old enough to leave their mama. One of the rescue organization’s volunteers was kind enough to send us photos of the pup we chose during that long wait; the foster had named her Harper. While we waited for the day we could officially adopt her, we had fun ordering various puppy supplies for Harper, and debated on what her name should be. When the day finally came to bring the puppy home, we decided to keep the name she had; “Harper” just seemed to fit her. Her full name is Harper Rose (Rose being a nod to my new all-time favorite show, Schitt’s Creek), and she joined her big sister Maisey Lou on June 14th.

Our household sees our fair share of chaos, but adding a puppy upped the chaos factor by quite a bit. That joyful mayhem – and the giggles that accompanied it – were a welcome change after weeks of disappointment. 

While puppies are a lot of work (some days I feel like I have a toddler in the house!), Harper was just what this family needed to lift our spirits. She is a fiercely loyal, funny pup and the kids have really loved having her as part of our family. They help train her, supervise playtime between Harper and our senior dog, Maisey (as she isn’t as fond of the puppy as we are), and spend countless hours curled up next to her. She has served as an excellent reminder that good things are possible when the world seems to crumble around you.

pandemic puppyThis year will carry many difficult memories, but I am so thankful that we can consider this spunky little puppy as a definite bright spot in all the darkness. Knowing that our sweet rescue pup brings so much extra joy to our family will certainly be a highlight of 2020.

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Jen Franklin Kearns grew up in Central Ohio and is pleased to raise her family here as well. She and her husband Mark reside in Delaware and are parents to Alex, Addie, and Andrew. Their home is completed by their loyal beagle, Maisey. Jen is a social media analyst for a local family foundation, and she is also a passionate advocate for inclusion and disability rights. Jen’s oldest son, Alex, has Down syndrome and Jen works tirelessly to ensure that Alex has access to inclusive opportunities in their community. Jen and Mark are raising their children to know that that inclusion matters for all. When Jen isn’t advocating, writing, or shuttling her kids back and forth to sports practices or club meetings, she enjoys perusing social media, reading, and drinking large amounts of coffee.