A Perfect Fit, Our Pandemic Puppy


When I speak the phrase, “our pandemic puppy,” there is one part that seems far more likely to occur than the other. Funny enough, that part is a “pandemic.” Within my overthinking mind, I certainly found it to be quite plausible for the next plague to enter our world through a play-place ball-pit, but never did I think that we would someday soon become the proud owners of a puppy. 

For years we would tell our children that someday we could get a dog. We would say that when our babies were grown and each sister could help, we would then discuss a future of being a dog family. There were countless conversations about pets, responsibility, and the damper that a dog would put on our travels. Honestly, we could hardly handle the time it took to keep up with a fish. We would bring up the disappearance of long day trips, talk over the lack of vacations, and accentuate the unfortunate hindrance that is training a puppy to fit into your family. We thought surely, each talk diminished any itch to add a puppy.

But then, there was actually a pandemic.

Being military, we are no strangers to unprecedented and unpredictable. Funny enough, we spent our upside-down 2019 talking about how we would finally breathe in some normalcy come 2020. Our family had never grown to know a pause even close to the one brought on by the pandemic. We had never been forced to freeze with nowhere to be. Along with the rest of the world, my children and I spent months making the most of this mess. As the days dragged on, I started to wonder when this series of unfortunate events would end and what book we’d become next. I was thinking maybe more along the lines of being “Untamed” and not quite the direction of bringing in a puppy that was “untrained.”

It was somewhere amidst the winter chaos that I decided we would finally accept our idle chapters in life and that it was time to come to terms with our family adventures being mostly at home. This weird life circumstance meant adjusting our sails and finding what would be the new normal for our family.

And sure enough, now that we can check parenting through a pandemic off our list, we felt it was time to add another, less like likely challenge … so after much planning and preparation…

We said hello to our pandemic puppy.

Why now? Our puppy has been a perfect fit. He has been an ideal interruption to our monotonous daily pandemic life. He has given my girls new responsibilities and distractions. He has offered therapeutic cuddles in the midst of our unstable year and provided a new friend and focus for when feelings are both at their highs and lows. Being that we are always home, he helps keeps us on schedule and provides the children with a purpose. For the first time, we are free enough to properly train our puppy to fit into our family and are confident that we can create a new normal, that is living life with a dog.

Thanks to both an unlikely pandemic and an even more unlikely puppy, our lives will never quite look the same. We are still experiencing what our new normal will be; however, if there is anything that we have learned over the years, is that change can be positive if you are willing to lean into finding what works for your family. For our family, we have found that a pandemic puppy was the perfect addition that we never knew we needed. 

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Chelsea is an Air Force BRAT turned Air Force spouse and has twice called Charleston, along with more than twenty other duty stations, home. She is a mother to three strong girls, aged 3, 6, and 9, plus an adventurous aussiedoodle. The military has certainly handed her some unique parenting situations, with a lot of flying solo, both figuratively and literally, but having countless opportunities to show her daughters independence and instill adventure is one of her and her husbands greatest goals! She hopes to encourage other mothers to find joy in the small moments and make the most of wherever you may find you and your family. In her spare time Chelsea runs on podcasts and coffee, enjoys family camping trips, pre-pandemic traveling, and all things spending time outdoors. Aside from being both a full-time student and stay at home mom of six years years, she is also the founding coordinator for the local chapter of Stroller Warriors at Charleston AFB, a free running group for military families. When her days of stay-at-home-motherhood come to an end, she hopes to find her place in elementary education. Until then, she is both excited and exhausted by trying to find the joy in all the moments of this wild & messy motherhood.