Photo courtesy of Leyna Vo. Junior Leyna Vo celebrates Biscuit’s first birthday with the family, gifting him his favorite snacks and toys. “All of these experiences with Biscuit are new to us, so we spend more time as a family because he is around,” Vo said. “Biscuit and I are like best friends, but he is also a member of my family now and forever will be.”

Biscuit mends ‘ruff’ family relations

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Stepping into a pet store, a fluffy creature caught the attention of junior Leyna Vo and her family. The white Shih Tzu puppy excitedly jumps, fighting for Vo’s attention and affection. The family knew they were destined to bring him home, marking the beginning of their relationship with the new furry family member, Biscuit.

Before Biscuit joined the Vo family in early January 2020, the household was deprived of an intimate link. Conversations frequently focused on school, disheartening Vo about whether she could meet her parents’ expectations, further developing a dismal atmosphere. 

“We would always eat dinner together as a family, but after dinner, I would head to my room while my parents would watch TV in the living room,” Vo said. “Since they aren’t familiar with the different classes and clubs I am in, I felt heavy-hearted because my parents didn’t understand what I was trying to tell them.”

Vo’s family was uninterested in the idea of raising a dog, but Vo had always wanted a furry friend, and Biscuit immediately won the family over. Biscuit’s perky personality soon softened everyone, encouraging the family to bond more frequently. Biscuit was the missing piece that connected the Vo family together as they finally found a shared interest.

“My parents lessened the amount of school-related topics whenever they talk to me,” Vo said. “When they would spend time after dinner singing karaoke, I would also sit there playing with Biscuit. My parents would also come into my room and hang out with Biscuit and I almost every day. We all love seeing his reactions when we show him a new toy or give him new foods.”

Simultaneously, Biscuit became a warm presence in Vo’s progress in mental health. The adjustment to distance learning was difficult for Vo, and she would constantly feel gloomy, disrupting her academic performance. But with a new friend beside her, Vo has a friend who comforts her.

“Whenever I lay down on my bed, he would climb and lay on my stomach, not budging until I finish my rant,” Vo said. “I would hug him and tell him what kind of feelings and thoughts I have, motivating me to work efficiently. Biscuit would always stay in my room when I’m in there or leave when I leave, which made us grow even closer.”

The Vo family had some difficulties raising Biscuit because he was their first pet. But, they tried their best in caring for him, asking for help from an experienced friend, and utilizing internet resources like pet-store websites. The family’s collective efforts in navigating how to nurture a pet ultimately brought them closer. 

“Since my parents were less experienced in taking care of dogs, they would ask me many questions, and it would lead to a conversation about Biscuit,” Vo said. “When I see my parents willingly help me raise and take care of Biscuit, I am happy that they are content with having him. Biscuit has made our everyday lifestyle less boring, and now it’s filled with laughter and liveliness.”

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