I Was a Dog Mom for Only a Day

Michaella Henry
7 min readMar 27, 2021
Light brown dog behind a rusted cage with only upper face showing
Image by Valerie Blanchett on Unsplash

On March 5th, 2020, days before the world exploded into a deadly pandemic, I woke up and decided I had to get a dog. I thought about getting a dog for years, actively searching animal shelters and national rescue websites for months. Last year, I decided my waiting a long time meant I was somehow prepared or deserving. I was not deserving of or ready for the responsibility of a dog. No one is entitled to anything beyond fundamental human rights, not even things that could make us incredibly happy.

I was emotionally vulnerable at the time, living alone and lonely. Maybe having something to love and look after would keep me from the toxic situation I had just escaped. And by nature of that dog being a dog, she would love me in return.

On this random winter morning, I remembered a shopping mall from my childhood with a puppy-selling pet store. As a kid, any time we got to that mall, my siblings and I made it our mission to visit the puppy store. Even if we had to wait in line, it didn’t matter because we would be able to see, smell, and hear living breathing puppies with just a glass wall of separation between us. Our mother would not let us get a dog because she is allergic. She rarely entertained signing up for a “meet the puppy” session other families would get to do, sitting in a cubicle with their hopeful “forever friend.” I personally doubt my mother is allergic to every dog breed out there. Still, she was probably doing the intelligent single-parent-of-four-kids thing where you limit additional stress and responsibilities. That can’t be judged. And had I taken her wariness of raising a new life into consideration that March, I could have saved myself and a 5-pound puppy from unnecessary pain.

The pet store workers were happy to greet me. They were delighted to hear I had been looking for a puppy “forever.” Confident they could help, the pet store workers sat me in one of the meet-the-dog stalls I coveted in my childhood. They were pleased to bring out a dog who seemed healthy, affectionate, and playful and who they claimed: “did not come from a puppy mill.” The store manager assured me they only work with good breeders. They were happy to charge my credit card for an adorable chocolate brown Havanese puppy I named Moose.

Michaella Henry

Writer and UX Designer. Neurodivergent. Intersectional Feminist. Crafting personal narratives that make strangers feel less alone. Psych, Gender Equity, Race.