‘IT’S A… PUPPY! I am a 23-year-old ‘boss babe’ and now, single DOG Mom. I have been unapologetically embracing the single life.’

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“My name is Kristen, I am a 23-year-old ‘boss babe,’ taco lover and now, single DOG Mom! I have been a business owner in my small Kentucky hometown since September of 2016 and I have been unapologetically embracing the single life since November.

I have spent the past 10 months finding myself, which probably sounds extremely cliché… but it’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Rewind to November, I found I was in a relationship that just wasn’t working. After detaching myself from that relationship, I found I had lost sight of myself, and I had no clue where I was heading in life. I was confused, and I knew I had to find a way to regain control and figure out what I wanted and needed to live a happy life. If you have ever been in a relationship or friendship that just isn’t right for you, it’s highly likely you have experienced the same feelings and will completely understand the tremendous task that was hanging over me like a dark cloud.

I started this journey by spending an extensive amount of time creating a Pinterest board titled ‘Self-Care.’ You’re probably thinking, ‘self-care, well that’s simple, I care for myself daily; I wash my face, brush my teeth, etc.’ BUT, do you care for yourself mentally? Do you ever put yourself first? Do you love yourself? After I pondered the answers to these questions, I found that I carried a lot of love in my heart, but very little was given to myself. That was my ah-ha moment; I began building a loving relationship with myself while uncovering the answers to where I was heading in life. I developed a love for traveling and a ‘say YES’ mentality to all new adventures. I began pouring all my free time into my family and my business. I got my nose pierced, got a few new tattoos, and took boudoir pictures in my ‘96 Bronco for a confidence boost. (My momma decided I was going through a midlife crisis at 23, LOL) I decided that I am thriving!

Young woman who is single for first time in a whole sits posing in car with door open
Sarah Hill Photography

So far single life is a pretty good life! It’s the beginning of August, I am happy, healthy and have A LOT going on in the upcoming days. I forgot to mention that I am currently building a new salon, which has been a very stressful experience. I am preoccupied, running around like a mad woman, trying to tie up loose ends. I have a month full of bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and a class reunion to attend. As if I don’t have enough on my plate, my mind is constantly going back to all the love I have in my heart. I knew I was ready to love again but I was not ready to be in a relationship or anything remotely close to a relationship. Part of me kept thinking… ‘Puppy: unconditional love, cute, hard work, but it’s not a good time, I’m too busy, super cute, sweet, I need one, but I can barely take care of myself, yikes!’ I found myself at a standstill completely doubting my ability to take on a puppy at this point, when my best friend and right hand, Hanna, randomly blurts out on our way home from IKEA one Friday, ‘Oh my gosh Kristen, you need a dog!’

Puppy of young single woman standing by silo
Sarah Hill Photography

I immediately began my search for the perfect pup, and the perfect name! I knew I wanted an inside dog that would get pretty big, and that didn’t shed profusely. I was leaning toward a Goldendoodle from the beginning of my search so narrowing down the breed was an easy task.

I found several sites filled with Goldendoodles and Aussiedoodles. I instantly fell in love with the sweet face, white markings, and light color of an Aussiedoodle who had been temporarily named Pecan Pralines and Cream. Her litter was named after Blue Bell ice cream flavors! After finding the perfect pup, I began my name search. I am, as my photographer, Sarah, calls me, a gypsy soul, so I knew I wanted something a little different. I started with flower names thinking my Grannie (who is also my best friend) loves Calla Lilies. Then it hit me! Her name will be Calla!

Recently single young woman holds out pink dog bone sign that says, "Calla"
Sarah Hill Photography

Not only did Hanna convince me I was ready for a pup, she also had the idea to do the gender reveal! I am always up for anything that keeps life interesting or provides a good laugh to others, so I was ecstatic with this idea. As soon as I had Calla picked out, I messaged Sarah to reserve a spot for a gender reveal/mommy and me puppy photo shoot. She’s always down for my random ideas and is usually just as excited as I am about them. After this, I started planning the ‘reveal.’ I knew I wanted it to involve food, so again I turned to Pinterest. I decided tacos would be the theme of the reveal because tacos are my favorite and who doesn’t love tacos?

Puppy of recently single woman walks near a sign saying, "Taco bout a cutie"
Sarah Hill Photography

I spent 8 hours making a taco piñata and the whole time I’m thinking, ‘This is ridiculous, I’m really being a little extreme.’ Just so happened when I took a break from piñata making, I scrolled through Facebook and stumbled upon an article titled Single Girl Bucket List – It’s Time to Pamper Yourself and #3 read: Do things you think are stupid. They might surprise you. You might end up having fun.

Recently single dog mom stands near recently hit pinata that is releasing pink confetti
Sarah Hill Photography
Up close of recently single dog mom holding pink confetti from pinata
Sarah Hill Photography
Recently single dog mom blows pink confetti out of her hands
Sarah Hill Photography

Let me just tell you, thanks to the best photographer ever, we had a blast! I caught a mouth full of confetti, Calla took her first #2 (which I was way too excited about – how to know you’re a new dog mom) and we had lots of laughs!

Recently single dog mom holding puppy behind sign that says, "and then there were two"
Sarah Hill Photography
Recently single dog mom smiles as she holds puppy in air
Sarah Hill Photography
Recently single dog mom smiles while holding puppy
Sarah Hill Photography

I have had Calla for 4 days and we are both adjusting well to each other. I am doing my best to crate train her, she whines all night and it literally breaks my heart! Here’s to hoping she adjusts eventually! She comes to work with me and is going to be a ‘Salon Dog’ so I know we are going to be best friends. I cannot wait to teach her 101 tricks and I am so excited to have her as a companion for many years to come.

Recently single dog mom reads book called, "101 Dog Tricks"
Sarah Hill Photography
Book recently single dog mom is reading opened up
Sarah Hill Photography
Recently single dog mom holds book while trying to teach puppy trick
Sarah Hill Photography

A note to all of my fellow single women: Being single is not a negative experience. Embrace it, make the best of it and don’t compare where you are in life to where others are.

If you’re happily single and find it obnoxious when people try to ‘fix you up’ with someone suitable, reply with: ‘I’m not broken, I don’t need fixing up!’ This was told to me by Sue Clements, my sweet Meme, my dad’s mom, and I have fiercely lived and loved those words ever since.”

Recently single dog mom walks along dirt path on farm holding puppy
Sarah Hill Photography
Recently single dog mom holds puppy in front of silo
Sarah Hill Photography
Recently single dog mom walks with puppy beside her next to silo
Sarah Hill Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kristen Clements of Springfield, Kentucky. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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