Ah, glorious 2020… The pandemic’s emotional toll hit us all with a quick jab to the nose at the very start of it. Health fears to loneliness, financial stress to the mounting unknowns: not a single person on planet Earth avoided the impact (and all feel the strain, still.)
For my family, specifically, high-stress was a part of daily life by way of chosen profession: We had a restaurant and catering business (which we’d named the Bright Side, as we are an overly optimistic bunch.) But being used to stress and holding predominantly positive perspectives still did not prepare us for CoVid’s punch.
What possible silver lining could ever come out of this?
Goodbye, Restaurant: Hello, Teen Logic
So, running a restaurant… it shapes life, down to the tiniest details. From the before-dawn arrival for prep and set up, to the after-dark eyelids-heavy drive home (and the very few days off filled with catch up)… your house might as well be dubbed your second home, and not because you’re rolling in the dough!
Add kids (teens, to boot!) to the mix: Us restaurant-anchored adults had with our kids mostly rushed interactions, limited outings, phoned check-ins on homework… And vacations? LOL… not so much. Restaurant kids certainly learn independence, but unconsciously know a bit more loneliness, too.
Which fueled their desire for something they’d “never, ever” get…
Our restaurant kids had a lifelong, deep-seeded dream of having a sweet, soft, smart and unconditionally loving puppy dog (that we, as somewhat intelligent parents, knew would be dependent on us, not them, to act as primary caregivers to.)
Every birthday, holiday, graduation, landmark occasion or achievement, the conversation went:
“What would you like?”
“Nope. Can’t happen. Expect never, ever, kids. Just wait until you move out on your own… and maybe don’t choose a career in food service.”
Dogs are true, whole-hearted members of a pack. And if a family commits to welcoming a dog into their pack, into their home, we believe that we must be home more often than not. And we were not home…
Until the insanity of CoVid19 happened and we had to close our restaurant’s doors.
We found ourselves home every day – by CoVid’s choice – to see our kids drowning in melancholy with the onset of quarantine, the constantly wavering information from the news, e-learning, and, maybe, the new constant parental presence.
A bright idea baked up by our teenage faction was presented to us one morning in late April.
“No more restaurant…” said the middle kid on behalf of all, “so… no more reason to not get a dog, right?”
There were still reasons not to get a dog, of course, but the greater logic and the hopeful excitement in their eyes, was too strong to fight.
And thank goodness we were too tired, worried, stir crazy, and overwhelmed to fight. Because when our pandemic puppy, Lily Lou, joined our pack a week later, the sting of CoVid’s sucker punch burned just a little less. Cuteness overload was a wonderful distraction, but more deeply felt was the warmth in our chests. Our hearts became infinitely fuller.
So, the truth was, we all needed some emotional support. A bright side. Our silver lining came in the shape of a curly ball of fluff on four legs. Lily got us outside walking, hiking, biking. She gave us a reason to laugh together. To play as a family: Try that with teenagers in the first place, and good luck!
We call our pandemic puppy our saving grace. She’s helped us manage the fear for the health and safety of our loved ones and community, the financial strain and sorrow of losing our business, and the continued anxiety surrounding tomorrow.
And, helping us one giant leap further, she’s inspired us to create a new venture to replace our lost business: Woof Creek Nutritious Nature Dog Treats & Chews. Our new, holistically focused dog wellness company was born by our desire to thank Lily Lou for her unconditional love, making for her (and her puppy peers!) the freshest, simplest dog treats with the best ingredients by our making, that we could.
Bright sides are hard to find when we’re knee deep in the mud, but thanks to our pandemic pupper, our family keeps trudging through with the help of Lily Lou’s kisses and zoomies and tug of war sessions and all!
We wish the same bright side for you. Adopt, rehome, foster, or even just volunteer at a shelter to gain the immense joy that pooches love to give. If sharing time or a home with a doggo isn’t a possibility, then consider donating to a shelter, helping lone dogs find their furever homes with families who need their own bright side! Woofs and love!