How to Adopt a Dog in 21 Easy Steps

  1. Daydream your entire life about Getting a Dog. (Like DNA for eye color, dream is transferred to offspring (dominant gene)).

  2. Promise kids that you will buy them a dog when you move back to Boston, like you are the freaken Obamas moving into the White House and can just bandy about promises like that.

  3. Evade questions for first year in Boston about Getting a Dog because you live in an apartment that doesn’t allow dogs (and even the hamster was a stretch).

  4. Once moved into canine-friendly quarters, continue to evade questions about Getting a Dog such that if the kids in the backseat of the car even hint at asking a question, quickly change the subject SHAME ABOUT HOW LUNCHABLES AREN’T ON SALE ANYMORE.

  5. Begin researching breeders; promptly fall in love with every puppy on breeder’s websites.

  6. Realize cost of purchasing puppy from breeder could also send 10 children to space camp every year (via an actual rocket ship) until the end of time.

  7. Pivot to looking at rescue shelters.

  8. Fill out shelter applications that are tantamount to trying to emancipate a prisoner from a war camp.

  9. Learn from Nice Lady at Bus Stop about shelter that is reputable and local.

  10. Fill out application and book appointment for visitation to shelter in self-same day.

  11. Go as a family of four to “look” at potential puppies.

  12. Fall bum over monkeybars in love with all puppies at shelter and begin to deduce how to afford/fit all 28 in backseat of car.

  13. Go to PetSmart and Buy All the Puppy Things.

  14. Go back to shelter and claim Schuyler the Beautiful Mutt because she seems the most chill.

  15. Bring Schuyler home and realize she is chill most of the time and also has an alter-ego, Devil Dog, who chews everything including but not limited to: brand new television remotes, all the zippers on all the hoodies, all the shoelaces on all the shoes, every last shred of your dignity as you become the Loser Lady who Lives Outside with Her Puppy Dog on a Leash.

  16. Learn that you should throw out everything you learned about sleep training and potty training small humans; all the sticker charts and all the cry-it-out methods and cloth diapers are obsolete in Puppytown; what you need now are treats. Treats are dogs’ love language. They must all be related to your grandma because they are singularly focused on food. Weird.

  17. Lose so much sleep because of tiny dog bladder needs; fear may never experience sessytime with mate again.

  18. Train children who begged and pleaded about Getting a Dog that this nippy furry slobbery friend is The Fulfillment of Things Hoped For their entire lives, so stop watching glitter glue slime videos on YouTube and play with the puppy.

  19. Start to celebrate landslide victories such as “All morning! FOUR HOURS IN A ROW. No accidents!” and crowning achievements such as, “Gave dog bath [though have not personally showered in four days].”

  20. Start to become That Person who asks their dog all kinds of asinine questions twice in a high range that is embarrassing for everyone, “Puppy Want to Find Pee Tree?” except you can’t stop.

  21. Feel grateful every day for the Werther’s Original on four legs who rescued you after all these years from not knowing what it was like to Get a Dog.

Schuyler the Rescue Mutt