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Ginette Allen and her family adopted Boomer during the pandemic and fell in love. Boomer has been a comfort for son Cade during NTI and helped calm his frustrations and ease his sadness with quarantine.

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We’ve all taken some unusual steps to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. I have zero spatial abilities and generally dislike puzzles, but I did them in the past year just to have something to do. Some people took up new hobbies like knitting or painting or woodwork. Most of us needed something to fill our days and our thoughts since we were in our homes so much. But many Kentuckiana residents also saw the pandemic as a perfect opportunity to welcome pets into their lives, either to be a source of companionship, to help boost their mental health, or to help their overall wellness (and maybe others’ too).

Man’s (and boy’s) best friend

When Ginette Allen’s 9-year-old son Cade was younger, he was very afraid of dogs, but as he got older, he began talking about the possibility of the family adopting a calm, older dog. She and her husband, Brian, didn’t think they had the time to dedicate to a dog. “And then COVID-19 happened, and we had a lot of time on our hands,” Ginette says. “Cade continued his pleas.”

They adopted a dog named Booker, whom they quickly discovered was riddled with health issues that made euthanasia the most compassionate decision. “It was traumatic. Cade and I were both with [Booker], and it was very sad, but the next day, Cade was like, ‘When are we getting another dog?’” Cade immediately said their next dog was going to be named Boomer.

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After giving herself some time to grieve, Ginette began looking on adoption websites and soon found a dog named…Boomer. Brian, who had been hesitant to get Booker, was on board to see if Boomer would be a good fit for the family, but he was quarantined in a bedroom with COVID-19.

As soon as he was COVID-free and the family was finished with their quarantine, they drove to Woodford County’s Humane Society to meet Boomer. “The whole family got in the car; we were excited to be leaving the house,” Ginette says. “It was a beautiful day; blue skies, the sun was shining. It felt like the weather matched our family’s excitement and mood,” Ginette says. They drove an hour to the Humane Society and brought Boomer home that same day. “Everybody fell in love,” she says.

Adding a dog to the family has had a number of positive impacts, especially on Cade. He is much less fearful of dogs if he sees them in the neighborhood or at the pet store. But having Boomer has also helped Cade’s struggles with non-traditional instruction (NTI) and the pandemic as a whole. “[Boomer’s] brought him some calm when he’s frustrated. When he’s sad, he’ll cuddle with Boomer. He’s been very therapeutic for Cade,” Ginette says.

P.S. Dive into the unlikely friendship between two mothers that spawned a thoughtful podcast on equality.

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