I adopted a dog on TODAY a year ago. Here's why it was the best decision

I was never supposed to have a pet. My fiancé, Alex, and I are both huge dog lovers, but our New York City landlord wouldn't allow it, and we love our apartment. This led to many years of fostering rescue pups whom we attempted to keep secret from him, with varying degrees of success.But a year ago — well before the coronavirus pandemic hit and upended all of our lives — our resolve not to get evicted was tested for the final time. Every August, animal shelters that are full with a summer's worth of puppies and kittens waive their adoption fees for Clear the Shelters day.
Who could resist this puppy's sweet face?Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
A colleague at TODAY, where I work as a newswriter, sent out a staff email asking whether anyone was interested in adopting a dog for a segment about the event. They were bringing the puppies right to our plaza. I should've skipped right over it, but instead, I forwarded it to Alex with the subject line "Should we?????" And as my all-too-willing abettor, he reasoned that maybe — just maybe — it wouldn't hurt to meet them. Total suckers, we are.
That feeling when you accidentally adopt a puppy on live television Jaslin Marine

Less than a week later, we arrived at 30 Rock before the show started, still vowing that we would not take a dog home unless something truly special happened.

Then we found ourselves, eyes bulging out of their sockets like cartoon characters, in a pen full of puppies in need of homes. They were all adorable, of course, but there was one who did us in. She was ambling around sweetly while her siblings wrestled and tumbled and yipped. I picked her up. She melted into my arms. Alex picked her up. She nuzzled into his neck. We were donezo. Hearts exploding, we decided we would take her home and deal with the consequences later.

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That afternoon, we emailed our landlord. "So, we did something kind of crazy this morning," we wrote. Knowing that we had violated our lease, we said we understood if he wanted to kick us out immediately. But we asked for a chance first. “Maybe you won't even know she's here,” we bargained. “She's not supposed to get big, and she doesn't seem barky. Can we just see how it goes with the understanding that you can get rid of us any time you've had enough?”

He begrudgingly agreed. We were elated. “You may not get big,” we told the puppy. “You may not get barky,” we said sternly. She wagged her tail. She needed a name.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had told us she was a Welsh corgi mix. The only other thing we could think of that was Welsh was Catherine Zeta-Jones. Catherine didn't seem like a dog name. "Zeta?" we wondered aloud. "Zadie?" She sat straight up as if to say, "That's me!"

When you love a creature who is dependent on you, taking care of him or her doesn't feel like a chore.

A Wagging Tail Does Not Always Equal a Happy Dog. Don’t approach a strange dog just because it’s wagging it’s tail. Tail wagging isn’t always the universal sign of happiness – it can also indicate fear or insecurity. Be sure to teach your children about the basics of dog bite prevention.

Zadie turned out not to be a corgi mix at all. She is a dachshund-Labrador mix, a union I prefer not to think too much about, logistically. We know this because we spent so much time debating what breeds she might be that the $85 doggy DNA test was worth it just to put an end to the arguing. She's a long girl with a happy smile and beautiful, vacant eyes — the sweetest simpleton you ever did meet.