How to Do Something You Know Is Completely Stupid but 100% Right for You

{About a 3-minute read}

I have big, amazing news, everyone: I’m expecting.

Before you start having visions of me injecting my single-not-dating-a-soul ass with drugs that make me fertile, let me stop you.

Because I’m having a puppy.


Maybe that’s a letdown if you were expecting to hear me say that I’m hatching a human. (Sorry about that.) But getting a dog has been something I’ve wanted since I let the last one slip out of my life with my ex thirteen years ago. And I’m over-the-moon excited.

Maybe you’re wondering why it’s taken me so long. When you live in San Francisco, you get used to certain things: homeless people, fog in the summer, a general stunning gorgeousness in the environment around you, ridiculous rent ($3400 on average for a one-bedroom), and most notably for me and other canine lovers: landlords who are generally intolerant of dogs, even small ones.

So for the past thirteen years, getting a dog hasn’t been something I’ve let myself think about too seriously. Until recently.

After years of pondering how to get a dog in this crazy city, I finally decided that I could no longer live without one.  So how did I finally make the leap to doing it? I kept asking myself a series of questions and getting the same answers. (I believe that’s called insanity.) They’re conveniently reworded below in case you’d like to steal them for your own conundrum:

What’s going to change about my current situation that will make this thing I want easier to get? [Nothing. I’m not moving to Indiana where life is cheaper. Like ever.]

And when will that change? [See above. Never. Sorry, Indiana.]

If it never changes, are you okay with not getting what you want? [Nope, I’m not. If I die without having my very own pet to love again, I’m going to the afterlife super pissed.]

Will having this make your life better? [Yes. More complicated, too, but overall, way better. Look at that face. Better. MUCH better.]


That was (roughly) my path to puppy motherhood. But I also want to talk for a second about the general reaction to me getting a dog. Because 90% of the reactions have left me downright perplexed.

Most people who read this blog don’t know me. (Except for Julie. Hi, Julie. Thanks for reading. You’re the best.) But for all you amazing strangers who read this, I’m guessing your reaction is a little closer to what I’d consider the normal one to be.

Which is something along the lines of, “A puppy! Holy crap, that’s awesome!”

Now, insert a block of silence here where you, person who does not know me, do not editorialize my life and my decision by projecting your own issues in the form of an opinion on why getting a dog is going to be so incredibly hard for me. Thank you, kind stranger, for that silence.

Because others simply cannot help themselves. They follow up positive things like “That’s great!” or “It’s about time!” with not-positive and unhelpful things like:

1 – Your world is going to change.

2 – But you’re so busy, how will you ever find time?  


3 – Traveling is your thing. You know you’re never going on vacation again, right?

4 – Training a puppy is really, really hard.

5 -Why would you do that? Do you really want to do that? I would NEVER do that.

Except for the last one, believe me, I’ve thought ALL of those things. And to some degree, the less-extreme versions of each of those except the last are all true. But here’s what I have to say to you naysayers. And maybe if you’re trying to figure out your own thing right now my bitchy and slightly sassy responses can help:

1 – My world NEEDS to change. I’m toggling between The Voice and Dancing with the Stars as I write this, people. Change is REQUIRED. I learned a few years ago when I packed up all my shit into storage and moved to Paris, my world needs to change. Often. Routine is good, but change and variety are what keep me sane, what keep me looking at life with fresh eyes. It’s not just a nice-to-have, it’s mandatory. Ruts are my personal hell.

And then there’s the whole just-living-for-me thing. While being an unattached single person is mostly all advantages in my book, it does have a few big disadvantages, too. Like you come home to an empty house every night. I have great friends that I love in this city, and I do enjoy some Netflix, but the truth is this:

I want to take care of someone–human or animal–and make that creature’s life good and happy and whole. And I want to do this really badly.

This was a revelation to me, since about seven or eight years ago I finally let myself say out loud that I didn’t want to have kids. What I didn’t yet understand was that not having kids doesn’t mean I should completely deny myself the privilege of taking care of some other creature. (I know I should’ve made this connection sooner, but hey, I’m not as smart as all you intelligent people out there.) If my world changes, that’s great. That’s EXACTLY what I want and need. I assure you, I’m ready for it and I can handle it.

2 – I’m busy because I MAKE MYSELF BUSY. Did you read #1? I live alone. I like it, but I also know that I need to plan things with friends and do interesting, fun things that keep me engaged and not wanting to jump off my balcony when I come home. Newsflash, everyone: I CAN MAKE MYSELF NOT BUSY TOO if I have a little nugget at home waiting to hang and go for walks.

3 – Traveling IS my thing. Luckily, I have a career that earns me money so that when I want to go some place, I can treat my dog to a nice doggie hotel experience–that is, if all the people who have already volunteered to love up on her while I’m gone don’t come through.

4 – Yep, training a puppy IS really hard. This isn’t my first puppy-training rodeo. But what a joy–what a privilege–to teach a little being that you love how to live in the world happily and with good manners. I’m ready. I can handle it.

5 – This one’s pure projection. Just because you can’t handle it doesn’t mean I can’t.

If all this sounds ridiculous to you because I’m talking about a dog, then, I don’t know, maybe don’t come back to my blog again. You’re probably not my people. The rest of you, please … I hope to see you again soon. Here’s to all of us (finally) figuring things out and going for it.

[And if you’re wondering, it’s roughly 90 days and counting until my puppy arrives. You’ll see photos here.]