During quarantine, Americans learned to bake bread, completed countless puzzles, and found thousands of other ways to fill their time.
For Tyler Rich, the time spent quarantining at his Los Angeles home with his wife Sabina Gadecki and rescue husky Abby was impressively productive.
"We didn’t let it slow us down," Rich, 34, tells of PEOPLE of how the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affected him.
Rich stopped his live in-person performances to slow the spread of COVID-19, but he didn't press pause on his music. The county artist completed his debut album Two Thousand Miles from his home, where he had to learn to put together an album virtually.
"I recorded vocals here. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I kept getting coached. That’s how we finished the album," he says. "Everyone in their own little spaces putting it together."
And while Rich titled his album Two Thousand Miles as a reference to the distance he had to travel between his work in Nashville and his home in Los Angeles — where Gadecki, an actress, resides — the title took on a new meaning during quarantine. Rich finished his album with his wife by his side in Los Angeles and "2000 miles apart" from his producer.
The album, which comes out Sept. 4 and is available for pre-order now, "is 11 songs that completely tell my story. I hope people will listen to it and will understand me as an artist and a person," Rich says of the project.
To help give his fans an even deeper peek into his personal life, Rich filmed a music video, yet another quarantine project, for his single "Feels Like Home" from his abode in Los Angeles. Along with featuring his wife, family members, and friends, the "nostalgic-feeling" video also includes Rich's dog Abby.
Not present in the video is the newest addition to Rich's family: senior rescue dog Max. Rich and his wife originally took in the neglected 16-year-old Samoyed/husky mix in May, during quarantine, to hopes of getting him healthy and finding him a forever home.
"We found out about him and agreed that his last glory days, glory weeks, needed to be good," Rich shares. "We said 'Let’s give him a happy ending.'"
After recruiting a groomer that helps dogs rescued from Los Angeles' Skid Row — who said Max was "one of the worst dogs we have ever seen"— to tend to Max's mange, long nails, and filthy coat, Rich and Gadecki fell in love with the sparkly-eyed, fluffy and excited dog that emerged, and decided to make him their forever pet. Even Abby, used to being the only dog for the past 15 years, has developed an appreciation for Max, who makes a great snuggle buddy.
To celebrate Max's newly-found health and energy, and his new permanent place in the family, Rich and Gadecki took both Abby and Max on a California road trip, visiting some of the most scenic locales of Rich's home state.
"Once he was healthy, it was sort of like let's take him everywhere," Rich says of the trip that took the family to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and the Bay Area.
Back at home, Rich is making sure to document Max's amazing progress on his Instagram to show his fans why adopting a senior dog can be one of life's most rewarding experiences.
"Max could barely walk and now he is full of excitement every time he greets us at the front door. That dog got another shot. It's something everybody should try to feel," Rich says. "A few good years with a dog is worth it and there is no greater reward than taking in a senior shelter dog and seeing that dog come back to life."
This devotion to rescue pets is nothing new for Rich. Throughout his career, the singer has made a point of highlighting adoptable pets on his personal Instagram and his Rich's Rescue Instagram, the account Rich started specifically to highlight pet adoption and animal rescue work.
"I am just doing my best to share my info about adoptable pets and I am trying to get homes for dogs during these crazy times," Rich, who also managed to finish an album and release a music video during quarantine, said of how his is trying to help Max, Abby, and all shelter pets during the pandemic.
Two Thousand Miles is out Sept. 4 and is available for pre-order now.
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