Before COVID-19 sent kids home from school and parents home from work, the Stricklin family had mixed feelings about adding a second dog to their active family life. Dave wasn’t ready. Erin and their three daughters—Caroline (13), Ella Grace (12) and Macy (10) were eager for the excitement of a new puppy.

“We looked for over a year,” says Erin. “I would show my husband pictures and he kept saying no.”

But the pandemic brought a rare opportunity for the whole Stricklin family to be home with time on their hands. They welcomed a rare pure-bred French Pointer named River last year. Erin, whose parents rescued Jack Russell Terriers when she was growing up, knew she wanted the family’s next dog to be adopted. She kept an eye on the Greater Birmingham Humane Society (GBHS) website. One day in April she saw a friend’s social media post about a three-month-old Jack Russell mix puppy named Myles the family was fostering who had been found in Woodlawn and taken to GBHS.

“Our youngest daughter, Macy, has always wanted a little dog. When I saw our friend’s post about Myles and as soon as I saw his picture, I contacted her right away.”

They set up a meet and greet to see how the puppy would get along with the Stricklin’s dog and children. “I didn’t tell my husband until Myles was coming to meet the girls and River.”

Myles immediately won all of their hearts and became part of the family. Erin says when they first adopted Myles, his body was all white. They were pleasantly surprised when little black freckles showed up.

“River is white with brown freckles and we have a red head who wanted a dog with freckles. When we saw his spots starting to appear, we knew he was meant to be a Stricklin.”  

Erin says it was simple to fill out paperwork and complete the adoption process remotely with COVID-19 protocols. She says GBHS is a special place where the family has enjoyed volunteering and celebrating birthdays. Erin says they were thankful for the welcome distraction Myles brought while the kids were home from school and for the time they were able to spend focused on the new puppy.

“The pandemic was the perfect time to adopt because, with everyone being home, we all pitched in” says Stricklin. “The girls love taking the pups on walks and they were able to see that puppies take work. When we adopted River, they were at school and didn’t see how many times you have to take them out or how much energy a puppy has during the day. Myles definitely has given us lots of laughs and has been a great distraction.”

Erin says, while it took some time to train the puppy, he fit right in and gets along beautifully with River and the rest of the family. He nudges the girls’ doors open and wakes them up, jumping on the bed to kiss their noses and tell them good morning.

“He’s been great for our other dog and helps get some of her energy out,” says Erin. “They play and run around and have a good time together. He’s gotten to go to the beach, loves to swim and fetch and eagerly jumps in the golf cart every evening after dinner.”

Despite his initial hesitation, Erin says Dave quickly became the puppy’s favorite family member since he works from home, gives Myles treats and takes him on walks.

“My husband calls him Junkyard Dog because you never know what he’s going to get into,” says Erin. “Every time one of the girls walks in the room and the puppy starts wagging his tail, it makes us all feel special.”

“Our family is so thankful to have Myles as a member of our family,” says Erin. “He is definite comic relief. He has the biggest personality and keeps us laughing."