You're a Nobody Until You Get a Dog

Kristi Keller

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The most remarkable thing has happened to me in the past few months. My social life has been augmented to the point where I need my own personal assistant to keep my schedule straight.

Yes, even during a pandemic when we’re supposed to be cautious of each other, the invitations are rolling in faster than I can manage them. I am being summoned more than a ghost in a room full of teenagers playing a Ouija board.

Several months ago I adopted a puppy and suddenly my agenda overfloweth. I have finally become the somebody I haven’t been since the last time I owned a dog, six years ago.

It’s not just my friends though, even random strangers want to converse with me now. No one is pandemic-cautious around a dog mom. Viruses float away in the breeze when someone sees a cute puppy trotting down a trail.

I’ve lived in the same neighborhood for years and not once have any of these strangers stopped me on the walking path to tell me I’m gorgeous, but they sure as hell stop dead in their tracks to say it about my puppy.

If I didn’t love my puppy so much I might be offended. What can I say though? She is gorgeous. But I’m beautiful too you know. Yea, that’s me over here…waving my arms looking for attention. Finally I’m getting some.

What does one even say when someone compliments their puppy? It doesn’t seem proper to say “thank you,” as if I invented her. I’m not responsible for her cuteness gene. I’m only responsible for picking her out of the litter so I guess you’re welcome, for my good taste in litter picking.

My puppy managed to gain 50 followers on her Instagram profile in her first week and she’s been approached by at least five pet product ambassador programs.

Meanwhile, I’ve been plodding away on the stupid platform for years, fighting my way up to a mere 400 followers. Even my coworkers’ dogs are following my dog but those same coworkers are not following me.

Speaking of coworkers, not once have any of them invited me out for play dates. I certainly know how to play on my own, I’ve been doing it for 48 years. But now that I have a puppy everyone suddenly wants to play.

I have all kinds of play dates scheduled in people’s back yards and at the offleas park, because I now have a dog. Before, the only invitations I’d get were for drinking and getting shitfaced but now it’s about wholesome things like cute baby animals and maniacal frolicking.

People finally want some meaningful interaction with me. Wait, it’s not with me, it’s with her. I’m just there to chaperone and hand out treats.

Sorry, but no one wants a play date with your cat.

If you think being a cat owner is the same as being a dog mom, think again. I have a friend with four cats and there she sits in her house, alone with four cats. No one has invited her anywhere to play with her cats.

But all the dog parents have jumped onto the community bandwagon of puppy love. The “Kristi is a somebody” wagon, even if it’s only vicariously through my dog.

I’ve never had so many meaningful conversations about pee pads and bite marks in my life. It’s riveting. I finally know how the popular girls in high school felt and it’s doing wonders for my ego.

I used to care about things like sleep but now I care more about the sunrise because that’s how early my puppy wakes up. In my pre-puppy days I made fun of joggers on the path at sunrise, now I’m part of the crowd. I’ve been accepted into the pack.

I used to care about the brand new hoodies I purchased for dog walking, and how many pockets they had to hold treats, poop bags, house keys, and a cell phone. But now I only care about how many holes she can chew into them in one play session.

I never used to care about shopping but now I’m at the pet store eight times a week to give the latest treats, harnesses, and chew toys a run for their money. Newsflash: None of them match the sheer power of puppy fangs. Not even the human flesh God graced me with can match that.

But finally, I am a somebody within the right circles.

I no longer have any regard for those who miss me on Facebook because I’m too busy loving this little creature. I don’t even care if I make my bed anymore because what does that even mean in the grand scheme of things?

Not much, in comparison to puppy love.

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I'm an old school travel writer who's been flung into another writing world through life experience. I have a compassionate eye, a different opinion, and strong words for this world we live in. I also know a thing or two.

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