Adopted Dog Shows that Love Can Carry a Family Through Anything—Even a Pandemic

Hula’s love, playful energy, and happy howls boosted his family’s spirits through the pandemic lockdown and beyond.

Kristen + Hula

From couch snuggles to games of tug-of-war, Hula’s happy energy was the perfect match for Kristen and her family. When her family was home through the COVID-19 pandemic, Hula’s loving presence carried them through the stress of the unknown, giving them hope for a brighter tomorrow.

"I cannot tell you how many times Hula’s effervescent dog joy rubbed off on us during those long, hard months. I truly don’t know how we would have gotten through the pandemic without him."

The first time we met Hula, he jumped into the back of our car without hesitation, as though he knew we were destined to be his forever family. It was September 2019, and my husband and I were finally fulfilling our promise to our 9-year-old son, Fred: “When we move from Brooklyn to New Jersey, we can get a dog.” 


I had never been much of a dog person before. That was about to change. Within days, Hula (a Catahoula Leopard dog) was a full-fledged member of our family. He snuggled with us on the couch, lured us into spirited rounds of tug-of-war (his favorite game), and greeted us when we came home with a happy, “aroo-roo-rooooo” noise. Even when he was naughty (like the time he ate an entire chicken carcass out of the garbage!), we couldn’t help but forgive him.

Still, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit in March 2020 that we realized how truly essential Hula was to our happiness as a family. Like most dogs, Hula loved having us all at home all the time. During the day, he’d sleep next to my little work-from-home desk in the living room, or go snooze on Fred’s bed as he attended remote school on the computer. As the days and weeks wore on, and the stress and sadness and fear weighed heavier and heavier upon our minds, Hula was always—always!—able to lift our spirits. 

When tensions boiled over from too much “together time” as a family, Hula would trot into the room to see what was going on… and suddenly the mood in the room would lift. A ridiculously cute dog radiating unconditional love will do that, I guess. We’d go from bickering to cooing over our sweet Hula Hoop. I cannot tell you how many times Hula’s effervescent dog joy rubbed off on us during those long, hard months. I truly don’t know how we would have gotten through the pandemic without him.

The other day, I read an article that said pets adopted during quarantine are being returned in record numbers now that things are getting back to normal. For our family, though, we simply can’t imagine a “normal” without Hula. He showed us that love can carry you through anything, even a global pandemic.

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Kristen won Muddy Paws Rescue in Long Island, New York a 2021 Love Stories award.