Moms of America right now know the struggle is real.

Our kids are bummed. Birthday parties have been cancelled. So have trips to Disney. Play dates. Proms. Sleepovers.

I know. I’m a mom. It’s been tough to find ways to make our kiddos smile through their tears. Mine included. So this summer, I did what any responsible mother would do: I got my child a pandemic puppy.

And despite the impetuosity of the decision to add another member to our household, I must say — it’s been amazeballs.

When we were under the strict “Stay at Home” order this spring, the Puppers (a.k.a. Snickersnack, Baby Shark, and Short Stack) was the perfect distraction from the mundane routine of our lives, most notably by adding suspense to our adventure in online learning when the schools were closed.

Would the puppy pounce on my toes in a frenzied attack while I was in the midst of teaching a class? Possibly. Would she start barking at the computer screen when my daughter was deeply engrossed in an advanced Algebra lesson? Probably. Would I have to hunt for the puppy during my students’ stretch breaks to find where she had absconded with my shoes? Inevitably.

But her daily chaos was all worth it — especially when she’d jump in my lap and snuggle while I continued to teach from my desktop computer. Pandemic puppy snuggles are the best.

My daughter got her learner’s permit this spring, so we decided to drive the puppy around in the evenings to see all the great landmarks in Las Animas County. On these drives, we discovered the puppy loves to see the mountains. She relishes barking at elk. She thinks Trinidad Lake is a monster. And she tends to get carsick if she can’t see out the windows,

which is tough to do when you’re a chiweenie (a Dachshund and Chihuahua mix) and your puppy legs are only a few inches long.

The puppy has proven herself to be the perfect playmate for my teenage daughter. Puppers loves to play with toys — and as a properly spoiled pandemic puppy, we have provided her with loads of tiny tennis balls, squeaky toys, and plush animals with which to amuse herself. But her favorite pastime is finding her own toys — usually a stray sock from under a bed or peanut butter jar lid or dryer sheet she has stolen from the garbage can and bringing them to my kiddo to play tug-o-war, or playing chase.

When Puppers decides she wants to play chase, she will trot up to my daughter and wag her tail. If my daughter doesn’t take the hint, Puppers will plant her bottom on the floor and start to bark. Insistently. As soon as my kiddo stands up, Puppers knows, it’s on and she will dash from room to room, looking over her tiny puppy shoulder, yipping as if to say, “Fast as you may be, tall teenager, you can’t sprint around doorways or under beds as quickly as I! Ha ha ha ha ha!”

We have discovered, whilst preparing many a breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that Puppers is an adventurous eater. She loves to snack on pita chips. And dried seaweed strips. And cucumbers. We were able to potty train her by giving her vanilla wafers as a reward every time she’d tinkle on the puppy pad. When we let her venture into our front yard, Puppers found our strawberry patch. And decided she likes strawberries. She has learned to sniff her way through the young plants, snatch the ripe berries off their stems, and munch the tasty snack, licking the strawberry juice off her nose with her long tongue.

She’s beyond adorable.

We could just watch her puppy cuteness for days. And we have.

So the next time a global pandemic rolls through your town, moms of America, take it from me. Get yourself a pandemic puppy. Her puppy kisses will warm your kiddo’s heart, guaranteed. And she’ll be good for your soul, too.

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