Adopted from the Los Angeles Animal Shelter, Nyx has a much happier life spending her time running around outside and taking naps in the sun. (Lily Marmolejo)
Adopted from the Los Angeles Animal Shelter, Nyx has a much happier life spending her time running around outside and taking naps in the sun.

Lily Marmolejo

Pandemic puppies

May 22, 2022

Entrepreneur and graphic motion designer Humza Jalil was one of the many people who adopted dogs during the pandemic.

As a first time pet owner, he had adopted two French bulldogs from a rescue center at different stages [during the pandemic].

“I had gotten Luna at the start of the pandemic, things had been shut down in my neighborhood and when I found out shelters and rescues were opening up,” said Humza, “My mental health was in decline and [I felt that] a dog would give me routine and a level of compassion I never knew I had.”

Humza admits that when he got home with Luna he did not know where to start, but felt excited and nervous about the new puppy experience. He said that YouTube and Google were a lot help.

“I ended up learning how to train them with a clicker. After I figured it out and successfully trained her, she was an absolute joy,” he said.

Humza said that as a child he has always been fearful of animals; But spending so much time with Luna indoors [because of COVID-19 restrictions] allowed him to gain a variety of perspectives and take action over his life.

French bulldogs Luna (left) and Bunny (right) enjoy taking naps together after playing outside.
French bulldogs Luna (left) and Bunny (right) enjoy taking naps together after playing outside. Photo credit: Lily Marmolejo

This also allowed him to make the decision to adopt his second puppy, Bunny, months later.

“Bunny was meant to be Luna’s friend, I had read up on how French bulldogs do not do well being alone and are prone to separation anxiety because they become very attached to their owners,” said Humza. “Bunny was an absolute menace, she chewed through everything, she became Luna’s friend and partner in crime.”

Humza says he was able to train Bunny after spending a lot of time with both pups. He said that the pandemic was terrible, but he is partially thankful because it gave him the ability to focus his time and energy elsewhere.

“The pandemic gave me so much free time, I decided to use it better myself and listen to what my needs were,” said Humza. “My dogs made the experience so much better, I learned a lot about myself and I gave two dogs a home in the process.”

According to the ASPCA, “23 million American households acquired a pet during the COVID-19 crisis and most will not consider re-homing their pet.”

Contrary to popular belief, people are not ‘re-homing’ their pets or sending them back to shelters.

Frontiers in veterinary services said, “Ninety percent of individuals who acquired a dog during the pandemic still had their animal, as did 87% of those who acquired a cat.”

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Individuals that have re-located their pets do so because they were first-time pets owners and did not know how to properly care for or train them; It’s really hard to properly train a puppy and socialize them during a pandemic.

Puppies that were adopted during the pandemic ended up being returned about a year later due to having destructive tendencies and displays of aggression towards humans and other animals they do not know.

It’s important to research training methods and socialize puppies from a young age because once they finish growing it becomes incredibly difficult to control a dog that weighs anywhere from 60-150 pounds.

Nearing the end of the pandemic in Feb. 2022, I adopted a Great Dane I named Nyx from LA Animal Services.

I adopted her so that I could become more active and have company during the day as the pandemic forced me to isolate myself and stay indoors.

Nyx loves patiently waiting for food to spill while I'm in the kitchen.
Nyx loves patiently waiting for food to spill while I’m in the kitchen. She learned if she sits down she is more likely to receive treats. Photo credit: Lily Marmolejo

As a full time college student, I spent a lot of time at home alone; I felt lonely and depressed. I had no interest in seeking romantic partnerships and felt that giving a puppy a loving home would fulfill a space the pandemic had left empty inside me.

I missed out on a lot due to the pandemic, I was the graduating class of 2020; I didn’t get to walk the stage during graduation, I didn’t get a prom and I didn’t get to finish my senior year in person. I spent my entire first year of college online and did not enjoy college as much as I hoped I would.

I believe one of the purest forms of love is that of an animal, so I decided to adopt.

Upon arriving to the shelter I saw a skinny, tall black dog and my heart sunk; Nyx was a skeleton of a dog, she was very timid. Weighing 19 pounds at 2 months, I immediately adopted her and took her home with me the next day.

The well tempered puppy uses her puppy eyes to get guests to give her treats while in her presence.
This well-tempered puppy uses her big, puppy eyes to get guests to give her treats. Photo credit: Lily Marmolejo

When I took her home, I noticed she would follow me everywhere. As she constantly cuddled next to me, I spent long hours on my computer researching how to take care of her because she was my first ever big dog breed.

As the months went by, I taught her tons of tricks like how to sit, stay, jump, lie down, bark, and to come when called. Nyx is a very well-tempered puppy and loves to go to the dog park.

She loves going out on walks with me at night and watching Scooby-Doo cuddling next to me with a blanket; Nyx is very a very spoiled, happy, and healthy puppy.

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