Written by Chloe Pace
The Pain Behind Becoming a Pandemic Pet Paw-rent
I’ve never known pain like that of losing three beloved dogs in as many months.
My family and I are fortunate that the progress that comes with pain of that magnitude has resulted in two new additions to our family, who turned our house back into a home, filling it with love, laughter, and life in ways we couldn’t have imagined as we dealt with our grief.
Did you know, one in five pet dogs across Australia were welcomed into homes and families like mine over the course of the global pandemic? Research also suggests 53% of all dogs and cats acquired in this time went home with experienced pet paw-rents. Additionally, according to research, 70% of Australian pet paw-rents like us say the companionship of furry friends improved their lives as they dealt with the unprecedented crisis.
Prior to the pandemic, my family owned three Staffordshire bullterriers – a father, his son, and his daughter, both of whom were littermates. Despite growing up around much larger dogs, my siblings and I grew up knowing mum’s family had owned a very spirited and entertaining dachshund during her childhood who was always getting into mischief.
When we lost all three dogs in the span of as many months in a series of particularly unfortunate events in 2020, the emotional toll the pandemic was already having on us reached its unbearable peak, especially because our dogs had been related to each other. We all know losing a loved one is never easy, but as many of us found out, enduring the experience of such profound loss during lockdown was especially painful. Despite my family being at home together more than usual because of the pandemic, we found the loss of our beloved dogs during a time of such immense stress and drastic change only intensified how quiet and empty the house was, and how much we all desperately felt the absence of a dog’s presence. I was having a particularly hard time with the loss of our last Staffordshire bullterrier, having shared a birthday with him, which I had to celebrate without him for the first time in fourteen years only a week after losing him.
The Progression of Becoming a Pandemic Pet Paw-rent in Australia
Come the end of January 2021, my family agreed welcoming another dog into our house would help us heal. Statistics show that during the pandemic, 13% of dogs given new homes across Australia were adopted from the RSPCA or other shelters. We’d also spent some time looking over local shelters’ adoption prospects and considering a similar breed to the one we’d lost, but ultimately, we decided adoption wasn’t the right avenue for us at that time. The pandemic also saw a rise in pet paw-rents like us, who acquired their new addition through family, friends, neighbours, and other similar avenues, which increased by 24% across Australia.
We were ready for a new dog; but the pain of our losses was still too raw for us to consider a breed similar to what we’d lost. What we needed, was change.
The Unexpected Outcome - Double Trouble
That change came in the form of Frankie – a tiny, hilariously funny, and intelligent red miniature dachshund who is the spitting image of mum’s childhood dog, and full of so much personality and love. She’s always keeping us on our toes and getting into trouble. Frankie really brought us out of the rut we’d fallen into between the pandemic and our grief, so much so that, only days after Frankie arrived, we knew she needed a companion of her own, which would make the adjustment easier on her when weren’t home during the day. So, a week later, along came Oakley - a super sweet, wonderfully weird, incredibly loud chocolate and tan miniature dachshund, who is only about a week younger than Frankie. Though we were lucky to have purchased them both at eight weeks of age, this was little more than coincidence. By chance, we’d found two different locals whose own dogs had litters at similar times that were looking for their fur-ever homes.
The Result – When Frankie Met Oakley
Frankie was confused when we brought Oakley home – she had become too comfortable being the centre of attention. I think the fact they were so similar in age helped though, honestly, because we were expecting Frankie to take longer to adjust to Oakley being around than she did – by day two, they were perfectly comfortable together. Admittedly, that probably wouldn’t have been our experience had there been a bigger age difference between them.
Frankie was confused about Oakley when he first came home
These days, Frankie and Oakley do get along very well, despite being so different. We thought Frankie had personality in spades, but Oakley… really marches to the beat of his own drum. And we adore him even more for it. For instance, Oakley is much more toy-motivated than Frankie, (Don’t tell Oakley, but I’ve got my eye on these cute enrichment toys handmade by Dear Cooper if he doesn’t end up on The Naughty List for Christmas); and Frankie doesn’t understand the concept of personal space at all, where Oakley is far happier independently seeking affection from us on his own terms.
Thanks to Frankie and Oakley, our house is finally a home again. A home which is no longer quiet, nor empty, and our hearts, while steal healing, are once again overflowing, because our dynamic duo are always causing trouble and getting into things they shouldn’t be, like washing baskets and the veggie garden.
There really isn’t a dull moment anymore, and that chaos is exactly what we needed.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
About the writer:
Chloe is a 27-year-old dog-mum to two 3-year-old miniature dachshunds, Frankie and Oakley. When the dogs aren’t causing trouble, Chloe loves to write, read, and bake. Chloe is looking forward to connecting with other dachshund owners through her writing, and sharing insights to prospective dog owners who want to welcome a dachshund into their lives.
Connect with Chloe via Instagram: @theadventures_ofoakley or firstname.lastname@example.org