Adopting A Dog From A breeder During The Pandemic


Alexis Leone, Staff Reporter

Adopting a pet of any kind for the first time is an exciting process. A puppy or dog, for instance, is one of the most common pets to be brought home beside a house cat or kitten. Whether adopting from a shelter or buying from a trusted breeder, it can be assumed almost everyone’s process is the same; Meet the dog, fill out the form, bring the pet into its new forever home at the end. Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the desire of bringing a new animal into our homes has skyrocketed. The need to have a fuzzy companion to put our attention onto during this dreadful lockdown has become far stronger than before. While the pandemic wasn’t the greatest thing to have hit us, it did encourage a lot of people to go out and bring another family member into their homes. The rise of adoption rates is a great benefit to local shelters, but what does it look like following pandemic precautions during this process? Is it any different than the usual routine? I could tell you because I went through it so you do not have to. Or well, you could and should because it is never too late to consider picking up a new best friend if you are safe about it, or prepared!

After losing my first family dog to a nasty and unexpected autoimmune disease in early September, getting a new pet a few months later was the last thing I had really had on my mind. Though the absence of having a little shadow walking around or waiting for a piece of food to drop on the floor was quite disheartening, and honestly being in the middle of a global pandemic and no longer having the responsibility of taking care of him was beginning to feel quite sad. Never would I have expected that another little angel would be brought up into my home so soon. It was a bit early, however, I wouldn’t say it was the worse decision my parents made. Perhaps a new family member was what was needed to fill a void, and I wasn’t wrong. Having previously bought the first dog from a small puppy shop not far from here, my family had made the decision to switch to a better seller this time. My father had found a local Shih Tzu breeder over in Galena Illinois, about two hours away. The breeders had just brought up a litter of puppies and immediately a deposit was made within hours of him being born. He was given the name Vito. Yes, it really was a quick decision. The first step was done, picking a dog. However, the process of watching him grow till he was ready to be picked up had all been done virtually for obvious reasons.

To make it clear, we had never adopted from an actual breeder before this one, so what the usual process looked like before the pandemic is not something I’m completely familiar with, I’d assume visiting the dog a couple of times before the actual selection took place was the norm in most cases. However, everyone’s experience is different, this was my family’s experience in the midst of this pandemic. 

Facetime calls had been the major aspect of getting to know not only the dog, but the environment it was growing up in, the breeder herself, and valuable information regarding The dog’s health, etc. So throughout a span of Eight weeks till the day he had been picked up and brought home, we hadn’t met him in person until then. A bit risky considering most like to get to meet a dog before determining whether or not it is a good fit for the family, but it was a risk willing to be taken. The breeder was very helpful throughout this process. She’d give us weight updates, and a good idea of what his demeanor was like as he aged, so it wasn’t difficult to come to the conclusion that this was going to work nicely. It was like making an order for something off Etsy or amazon while having contact with the buyer. You are waiting for this package for days and days and not knowing what you are going to expect until it gets there. It felt more like that to us kids than my parents.

 It really did feel like it was taking a whole year rather than just eight weeks. Being trapped in lockdown during the waiting period only made it feel longer with the addition of having e-learning, there really was nothing else big to look forward to besides maybe Christmas but he would be the big Christmas gift one way or another so it all tied back into him. And from time to time, we’d be so tired of waiting that we’d forget about it for a while to buy time till the next FaceTime call or picture update. Apart from calls, texting the breeder every once in a while, or calling her for little details had become the norm but most of it had been done by my parents, getting picture updates were likely the most exciting part of this process, we were getting to see him grow and change without having to be there to do so.

Overall, I don’t know what it would have been like to have adopted Vito before Covid, maybe it would have felt much quicker, but I’d say to wait it out just to give a new life an opportunity to experience a family is most definitely worth the time. In the end, us kids were not allowed to come with us to go retrieve him because of the limit on the number of people allowed in the house during the pickup, but I was lucky to have met him as he took his first steps into his new home. Our breeder was very professional, experienced in raising the specific breed of dog, and based on the information we were given, our new companion was just how we had imagined but far tinier than we expected. Still, we were satisfied with our ‘ Covid order’. So with that being said, if you happen to have space, time, an open heart, or patience to bring a new pet into your home, I 100% recommend visiting your nearest shelter, if not, a breeder you can trust and that has good communication.