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pets as teachers

What I learned from fostering a puppy during COVID-19

A walk a day can save your life, and other important lessons from the universe

Updated June 22, 2020

Created By

Laura Stupple
me and covi at Port Jackson Bay

me and Covi at Port Jackson Bay 🌊

Like a lot of people, my life has been impacted by COVID-19. There have been good times and bad times, and amongst it all, there have been lessons too. None less than those I learned whilst caring for an abandoned puppy during the outbreak.

To set the scene, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a writer and I work for myself. I work across the globe, traveling as I see fit, but ultimately always returning to my cozy corner of the universe in the South of the UK. As I write this I’ve been away from my little patch of comfy homeliness for 5 months — the longest time I’ve spent apart from my home.

This isn’t a get the violins out moment, because I know people have it much worse than me. However, as I write this from my little flat in a suburb that lies right next to Sydney Airport I can’t help but think that the lessons I’m about to go into were magnified by the fact that I was in some sense up for adoption too. A wandering little soul, looking for a place to call home just like my darling little foster dog — Covi.

The first time I looked down at that beautiful, furry little face, I knew this was my ticket out of the depression I had spiraled into.

The law of attraction is real

The first time I looked down at that beautiful, furry little face, I knew this was my ticket out of the depression I had spiraled into. This was the bundle of joy that would get me up in the morning, force me outside, play with me when I was down and keep the smile on my face. In a strange way, I could feel that he thought the same thing about me.

That was the beautiful thing about our time together — we needed each other. I would create homemade dog food that consisted of peas and gourmet canned tuna when it was sold out, and he would cuddle me in the middle of the night when my anxiety spiked. We worked because our acts of service complimented each other well. We needed each other.

I’m a huge believer in the law of attraction — it has played a massive part in my life and although I was skeptical at first, the amount of incredible things that have manifested lead me to believe that what we put out into this world is so important. We create our reality, and I love that my lovely little Covi has in some way been a part of mine.

Our story is so ‘law of attraction-esque’ it’s almost unbelievable. I almost don’t want to share it because you might think I’ve actually lost the plot. “Not only is she crying over a dog she knew for two months, but she also believes in the law of attraction, what next?!” — I know it’s ludicrous, but stay with me.

The night before I discovered Covi, I was searching online for puppies to buy. In fact, I was specifically looking for King Charles Cav pups, within a 10-mile radius of Sydney. There were a few gorgeous little puppies that I found on my search, and as with all puppies, they looked very sweet. Being overseas I didn’t know whether I could commit to taking on a puppy forever. How would I get it home? What if my housemates didn’t like him? Could I even look after a puppy?!

Bonnie at the park

look at that face. look at it. 😍

That next day something very strange happened. Whilst I was sat on the grass having a picnic on a green nearby my flat (a lockdown classic) the most darling little Cavalier pup came bounding over to me. Innately I knew there was something he needed from me, and I him. He was the most bonny little thing, that looked into your eyes a little too long and nestled into you in a way that said ‘don’t leave me*’.

*Okay, maybe that was me projecting my feelings onto him. Gosh, I am a sad old dog lady.

I couldn’t help but think that he really was the answer to my prayers, he was the manifestation of everything that I was looking for! How did I get so lucky?! After chatting to his carer, I discovered that he had been abandoned due to coronavirus, and she was looking after him for a friend. I asked if she wanted someone to take him off her hands, and of course, she said yes.

In the weeks and months that followed, my darling little Covi became a best friend to me. He picked me out of some of the darkest moments of my life. He snuggled me when I was having heinous withdrawals from anxiety medication, became my family when all of mine were overseas and made me laugh constantly despite the impending gloom that the outside world offered.

Here’s what Covi taught me

A walk a day can save your life — I seriously believe this. Whether you’re walking for your mental health, physical health, or just to get out of the house during these times, walking is one of the best things we can do daily to change our current situation. Having a dog definitely pushes you to get out more, which is a wonderful by-product of doing life with a four-legged friend.

Ignorance can sometimes be bliss — Covi used to make me so happy because he had no idea what was going on in the world. His happiness was relentless and had no limits, largely due to his ignorance. It reminded me that sometimes not knowing is a gift, being happy with what you have and the situation you’re in isn’t that hard if you can tune out to external craziness and enjoy the now.

real life with Covi

Luxury is not materialism — It’s not a glass of champagne and a white flannelled robe, and it’s not the expensive car or the decadent living situation either. It might look like that on Instagram, but it’s really not. Luxury is a drop of lavender oil on your pillow, a warm cup of camomile before bed, and the sound of someone else’s heartbeat close by. This is luxury, and it’s accessible to us all.

Treats work, for myself and the pup — One of the more simple things I learned whilst looking after my little darling is that treats actually work. I found it crazy how responsive Covi was to treats, and noticed that treats work — whether you’re trying to get a puppy, or yourself, motivated to do something.

We’re all very simple really, and I found that the same part of his brain that said ‘I better do this because I’ll get a treat’ works for me too. I’m not saying I was going around eating dog treats – absolutely not – but I noticed that when motivation was low, a treat at the end of it could make a massive difference.

I couldn’t be bothered to go for a run? I’d make sure there was some kind of sweet treat afterward. Didn’t want to work from home for what felt like day 56,384? I’d promise myself a bath at the end of it.

It worked.

Home is a feeling, not a destination — This sounds so cliche, but I spent the first half of March wanting to book a one-way ticket home, only to have the flights I did have booked canceled. What I discovered during my time with Covi was much more important than a one-way ticket home.

It was that home isn’t actually on the other end of that flight. Home is what you create, it’s the reality that you manifest, and the beauty that can come from being open to the universe’s possibilities.

We laughed, we cried, we held each other when we had no one else

Lessons from the universe

When my lovely little foster pup nestled into my arms for our last goodbye, he looked up at me as if he knew that truth, too. We both knew that this was a beautiful, cosmic coincidence.

We laughed, we cried, we held each other when we had no one else — but ultimately we realized that home isn’t permanent. Home is a moment — it can be found in the fleeting joy of a morning run, the deep relaxing breaths that follow uncontrollable belly laughs, and the moments of beautiful coincidence that somehow glue our experience of reality together.

It is in these moments that we can feel most loved, cared for, and supported, yet paradoxically they’re available to all of us and require no set location, person, or thing to manifest. Simply being present for those moments of sheer joy, being aware of when we feel most at home, and staying open to the universe’s possibilities, is the closest to home to home that any of us can wish for.