You’ve seen them strutting around Midtown, tap-tapping their feet like they own the block, looking at this tree or that tree—much in the same way you do when you ask yourself, “Would this leaf pattern look good on Instagram?” You’ve gawked at them shamelessly (seriously, put your eyes back in your head) as they relax, cool and nonchalant, on the patio of the hottest local brunch spot. Maybe they’ve even winked at you or given you the side-eye as you walked past, giving you the golden opportunity you’ve been waiting for your whole life … to ask the girl or guy sitting next to them, casually (play it cool), “Can I pet your dog?”

I mean, he looked at you first.

It happens to the best of us. Dog fever. Or it’s just me. I lost my dog last year, a Pomeranian named Sophie Bananas. She was an asshole, so before you get too bummed about it, keep in mind that she was a yipper who would rather bite your hand than “chill” on a patio while you stuffed your face with one of those waffles from The Mill. But in her defense, she loved me, and that’s all I really asked of her.

So while I was sad to lose Sophie B, I had a lot going on. I didn’t need a dog! I had a hectic schedule and so! Many! Travel! Plans! It’s true what they say: Having a dog is like having a kid. But true to form, when your kid is being a little shit, they eventually stop being a little shit and you remember why you had them all along. It doesn’t help that I keep seeing Pomeranians goddamn everywhere, and my eyes immediately flood with “allergies.” Dog fever.

I thought getting a dog in Sacramento would be incredibly easy. Kind of like when you’re single, looking for dates and the internet exists. While I’ve been joking with my friends (or really, anyone who would listen, sorry) for years that I’m forever on the prowl for the Corgi of My Dreams, I also—realistically—know I would never fork over a tiny fortune for a purebred dog (again), and my next Best Friend would come from a shelter.

As with dating, it turns out that finding my perfect shelter dog isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Just like finding Prince Charming, I pictured going to the Front Street Shelter or the SPCA and experiencing love at first sight. This didn’t happen. After about five visits (and starting to feel like The Crazy Lady That Visits Every Other Day to Stare at Dogs), I’d leave empty handed (although I did find the perfect dog for my parents to adopt. Typical.), frustrated that I couldn’t find a small-ish dog that would fit my personality (and apartment) like a glove.

I’ve batted my eyes at a handful of these dogs, only to find their “profile” say things like “HOLD” and “ADOPTED.” Seriously. Every single one. The most frustrating thing about this is that I can’t even be mad because it’s awesome that Sacramentans love the shit out of shelter dogs—and they get snapped up like cronuts on a buffet. But seriously, where’s my cronut? How do I always miss the boat?

And before you ask, yes, I have PetFinder on my phone, aka Tinder for dogs. These dogs woo me with their outdoorsy photos and promises of being mild-mannered and drama-free (and yeah, maybe they drool a little after a long day at the park, but really, they just want to Netflix and Chill). These scenarios, too, end in disappointment when I call the shelter(s) to see if they’re still available (nope, some other single 30-something got to them, most likely, and is already brunching with them at Magpie).

The moral of the story is that I’m proud to live in a town that supports good causes, adopts animals that need homes and treats them like members of the family. In times such as these (goddamn I sound old), sometimes we have to remember the small joys that walk into our lives and keep us company, even if all we want to do is watch reruns of Frasier. I salute you, adopters. Until the right pupperino comes into my life, I’ll be swiping and hitting up the shelters looking for Mr. Right. I know he’s out there, and when it happens it will be love at first sight—or bite, if it’s a Pomeranian.

And really, at the end of the day, I’m just looking for one that won’t run away from me.

**This piece first appeared in print on page 30 of issue #261 (March 12 – 26, 2018)**

    Mollie Hawkins

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    Sometimes I read comic books and pretend I'm impervious to danger. Then I spill coffee on myself.