Looking back over the past nine months, since the COVID-19 pandemic really hit in the United States, I'm realising how much life has changed. Globally, we've all watched so many cultural shifts through the experience of living in a pandemic, and personally, I've gone through some pretty major changes. On March 1 of this year, I moved into my current apartment. I'd quit my job and gone through an earth-shattering breakup not long before, so moved out of the home I shared with my former partner and had to essentially pick up the pieces of my life. On top of all of this, I was living completely alone for the first time . . . right at the start of a global pandemic during which I couldn't leave my house. I felt lonelier than I ever had before, and it's safe to say I was definitely not thriving.
At the start of the summer and after a few months of adjustment to living solo, I started to consider adopting a dog. I had always known I would eventually get a dog, but didn't think it would happen for at least a year or two; the pandemic really changed all of that. Although my apartment was strictly no-dogs (oops!), I began looking around for my dream pup. I knew I wanted a girl, and I wanted her to be as small as possible — I'm talking 10 pounds or less. Especially considering how the pandemic severely limited my ability to see people and socialise, I knew I needed a companion to easily share my home and keep me company. I couldn't wait to get a tiny little girl dog to be my new bestie! I started looking online and checking out my local small dog rescues to find my perfect pooch. I know the universe was laughing so hard at me because my plan couldn't have worked out any differently.
On one of the days I was excitedly scouring the internet for adoptable small dogs in my area, I happened to check my Instagram feed and noticed that one of my favourite local vegan spots had posted a picture of a dog in the street in a nearby neighbourhood. He was without a collar, laying in the middle of the road by himself. The owner of said restaurant posted asking if anyone could help him out, and a local dog-walker/sitter offered to temporarily keep him safe in her yard until they could find his owner. Long story short, my impulsive behind offered to house the dog in my no-dogs-allowed apartment for a few nights until we could reunite him with his owner. He was a gorgeous blue-eyed boy with the most gentle and sweet temperament, but obviously at 65 pounds he was the exact opposite of what I was looking for. I knew I wouldn't be adopting him, so what was the harm in enjoying his company for a few nights? Well, of course, a few nights accidentally turned into forever (and this is where the universe laughs). After tirelessly searching for his owner for almost two weeks, and working some things out with my landlord, Remington Oliver Inks, "Remi" for short, officially became my fur child.
Adopting or rescuing a pet can already be a wild and life-changing experience. Adopting a dog during a pandemic is a whole other situation. Although it was a wild time to make a decision like this, and I'm sure plenty of people adopted a COVID pet without really thinking of the responsibility of pet ownership, I knew that Remi was meant to be my dog. I live within walking distance to an outdoor dog park, an indoor dog park/bar, a pet store, and Remi's vet. The way in which he just fell so seamlessly into my life made me realise how "meant to be" this whole thing was. I am so lucky to have him in my life, but rescuing a dog literally from off the street has definitely had its challenges. When you really don't know anything about a dog, their personality, their age, where they came from, or their past home life it can be difficult to know how to best care for them and how to fit them into your daily routines. I was very lucky that Remi was already housebroken and friendly, because in any other situation I would have had a lot of tough work cut out for me. As much as this could be considered an "impulsive" decision from an outside perspective, for myself and everyone in my life who really knows me this could not have been more serendipitous.
Getting Remi during COVID has taught me so much about myself, and challenged me in ways I think have ultimately helped me grow so much. Adjusting to living alone was incredibly difficult for me, and I went through a pretty deep depression for the first few months. I absolutely hated living alone, and I desperately wanted to feel less isolated. Remi's presence in my tiny apartment has changed everything for me. I've discovered such a fierce independence in myself, and the strong ability to stay consistent and responsible in caring for another living thing. I've never had my own pet before, just family pets, so this was a first for me and turned out to be so good for my personal growth. I have several routines in my day now that involve Remi, like our nice walks together, and it makes me so happy to have the cutest sidekick to take on life with. I love living alone now, and find it hard to imagine changing that anytime soon. Not only that, but I feel that my dating standards have actually changed, too! My next partner is going to have to fully embrace Remi and understand that he's one of my top priorities in life. And if my dog doesn't like you, it's just not going to work out.
To say I love my life with my dog is an understatement. Rescuing Remi during COVID was a pretty wild decision, but the lessons it has taught me and the ways in which it has pushed me to be the best version of myself are invaluable. I feel more like myself then I have in a long time, and although he can be very challenging at times, Remi truly is my best friend and most loyal companion. This has hands down been one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it truly felt like fate brought us together. While the pandemic brought a lot of loss and devastation to our lives, it also brought him to me – and for that I will be eternally grateful.