Celebrate National Dog Day: Montclair’s Pandemic Puppies and Where to Socialize Them

Today is National Dog Day and a lot of you have a special reason to celebrate. Families who already have dogs know just how much joy it has been to have canine friends to help get through quarantine, but new pandemic puppies are flooding social media. Adoption of dogs and fostering has spiked during the last few months and new dog parents are discovering having more time to devote to a new dog or attend to the needs of an energetic puppy is easier with families spending more time at home.

LaTascha Foster always thought about getting a dog, but held off for years, doubting whether or not her kids would help as promised and whether she and her husband would have the energy to care for a dog after both working and parenting.

Then the COVID-19 lockdown happened.

Gigi Foster

“It gave us so many extra hours at home together,” Foster says. “We were looking for safe reasons to leave the house. The trigger was finally pulled when we learned my daughter, who should have been heading to college, would be staying home and studying remotely until Spring semester. The new puppy, Gigi, has brought so much love to our house. A lot of work — but also so much love!

The Harvey family also made a decision to add to their family during the pandemic and to bring some joy into what has been a difficult time.

“We had lost our first dachshund Tommy a year ago and thought that we could never get another dog,” says mom Glynnis. “But then when the pandemic lockdown kept us indoors so long and all the news was so grim, a collective sadness swept the whole family. My two daughters had their college years cut short by the pandemic on two pivotal years for them. A Senior at Colgate University whose graduation could not happen. And a freshman at Cornell who was enjoying her first Spring semester.”

“My husband was working from home. And with no end in sight for the pandemic, we felt a loss, an emptiness that needed to be be filled,” says Glynnis. “We all agreed that we needed a new pet to love and to bring us joy and hope. And so we searched for another dachshund and after being on a waitlist for a couple months, we finally got our dachshund puppy, Hazy! She has truly blessed our house with joy and hope.”

Hazy Harvey

Socialization for puppies can be a little tricky with social distancing, but there’s help for that, too.

Janine Ruela of Montclair Pet Girl, a dog walking/pet sitting service, has been helping to get puppies socialized while keeping their pet parents safe.

“I’m able to put together puppy playdates, for dogs missing seeing other dogs while families are social distancing,” says Ruela, who arranges walks or a play session with compatible pups while their pet parents work from home.

Pups@Play

Pups @ Play on Walnut Street in Montclair makes it easy to socialize your pup and get some time to yourself. The 8,000-square-foot climate-controlled facility opened in November 2019 and offers indoor and outdoor play spaces as well as separate areas for large and small dogs, grooming, training, outdoor play areas, slumber parties and private furnished doggy suites.

On those hot days when it’s hard to get in the walks to exercise your pup, how about a puppy pool party? Pups @ Play offers doggy daycare, allowing dogs to play with other dogs while supervised — a great, safe way to socialize your dog as an alternative to a dog park. All dogs participate in a free trial visit to make sure they can play well with others and must be up to date on vaccines. Pups @ Play also offers programs especially for puppies, including training. Your dog can get groomed there, too!

There’s also Puppy Kindergarten, located at Montclair Township Animal Shelter. For more information about the ongoing kindergarten class, call 973-417-4173 or e-mail Info@walkwithustwo.com.

And if you are looking for treats (especially safe, non raw-hide chew sticks to keep puppy from gnawing on your furniture), we recommend L&B Healthy Pet Markets and Theo Pet Grocery — both have a a great selection.

If all this talk of furry friends has you wanting to adopt, check out available animals here and on Montclair Animal Shelter’s Facebook page.

Have you brought home a new best friend? Send us photos at tips@baristanet.com.

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