‘I’m Not Single, I Have a Dog’

Flavia PotenzaBy Flavia Potenza      August 6, 2021

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‘I’m Not Single, I Have a Dog’
‘I’m Not Single, I Have a Dog’ By Susan Hartzler Commentary by Flavia Potenza Once, marriage was the norm for adults. But now, for the first time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking these numbers in 1976, there are more single Americans than people who are married. About 50.2 percent — or 124.6 million American adults — are single. This cannot be a review. Susan Hartzler was once, briefly, my boss. She has been a friend ever since. I was working for her public relations company, Alpha Dog PR, when this book was just an idea with big question marks hanging over it. We discussed it, played around with it, wrote, rewrote possible chapters and then the Great Recession hit. I was out of a job and she was out of her family home. We sat together for hours in her driveway as she sold everything she could. Still, we laughed a lot. Like her dogs, but completely her human self, Susan is smart, fun, funny, the best friend anyone could have...and wrote the book. About I’m Not Single. I Have a Dog (McFarland & Company, Publishers)—At age 60, Susan Hartzler has learned to accept, even love, the single life, provided she has good friends and a dog or two by her side. Always attracted to the quintessential bad boy with his good looks and charming ways, she was sure she could change “the one” into a devoted partner and loving father, but her compulsive giving-and-fixing behaviors went hand in hand with her disappointing and disastrous romantic relationships. On a purposeful trip to the pound, she hoped to find a dog to care for, one that would sniff out the bad guys, give her a sense of purpose, and help her find meaning in her crazy world. Thoughtful and funny, this memoir follows Susan’s life through the many ups and downs on her way to finding unconditional love. Her journey is full of the hard decisions it took to learn to put herself first and stop staying in unhealthy relationships. By saving a dog, she rescues herself, learning to love herself as much as her dog loves her. Susan Hartzler is an award-winning writer, blogger, and a public relations professional. She trains her own dogs, who are both working actors and models. A volunteer for Therapy Dogs International, she escorts her dogs to hospitals and schools to visit children in need. She is also a two-time winner, one, the Angel on a Leash Award from the Dog Writer’s Association of America; and the Pawlitzer Prize from America’s most dog-friendly city, Carmel, CA, for two short stories, one published in New World Library’s “Dogs and the Women Who Love Them,” and Atria’s “The Divinity of Dogs.” Both stories were originally created as chapters in her book.
Author Susan Hartzler loves nothing better than kisses from her Australian Shepherds, Seven and Paige Turner
Hard-won Wisdom from the Heart. Anyone who writes a memoir, if she’s going to be authentic, has to dredge up a lot of painful memories written in a manner that compels us to care. Beyond the authenticity of the telling, what gob-smacked me, once I got over the first chapters describing her obsession with being married and living happily ever after, was how easily the chapters flowed in nuanced segues among the peaks and valleys, twists and turns of her seeking the one thing she couldn’t find, but then found it.

Whether or not you are in the market for the perfect mate, this is a cautionary tale, a good read designed to break and warm your heart and maybe, to get a dog!

I also highly recommend reading the Table of Contents; it’s funny and profound and always the best way to start a book.

NOTE: With reminders of September 11th currently starting to appear in the press, it is poignant timing that Susan dedicated the book to her “Angel,” Berry Berenson Perkins, who died in United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston, the second plane to crash into the South Tower 17 minutes after American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower.

‘I’m Not Single, I Have a Dog’ is now available at McFarland Publishers, Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and other fine booksellers ($19.99).
Flavia Potenza

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