Author Susan Hartzler, “I’m Not Single, I Have a Dog,”

Hartzler’s Ups and Downs On the Road to Finding Unconditional Love

Dating Tales from the Bark Side I'm Not Single, I Have a Dog by Susan Hartzler
Susan Hartzler’s memoirs shed light on why there’s nothing wrong with staying single.

Susan Hartzler’s life revolved around finding the perfect companion, but after living through a string of disastrous relationships, she learned to accept and even love her single life. Susan’s memoir, “I’m Not Single, I Have a Dog: Dating Tales from the Bark Side,” explores the disappointments, fear, and humor in her life as she pursued the bad boys women often find so appealing.

For many people, men and women included, not having a significant other to celebrate holidays, like Valentine’s Day, for example, evokes a myriad of feelings from despair to intense loneliness. Sometimes, we write off our incompatible choices hoping we can alleviate our symptoms and mold another person into the perfect companion or the ideal husband. But as Susan explains,

“I thought that perhaps there were many of us out there with bad pickers and I wanted to let others know there’s nothing wrong with staying single. I think I was trying to convince myself too!

Susan Hartzler

Dating Tales from the Bark Side shows us there is indeed hope for finding unquestioning love elsewhere. On a trip to the pound, Susan not only came home with a pet to care for – she found the missing link in her complicated life that would make her situations more tolerable. She discovered living with dogs is much more fulfilling and interesting.

What would Susan say to someone who would argue a dog can never take the place of a human partner?

“I feel sorry for them because they have never experienced the unconditional love of a dog. Dogs don’t take the place of humans. They are much better than humans!”

While she doesn’t blame herself for the kind of men she finds attractive, Susan learned the hard way that the men she found exciting, unpredictable, and irrepressibly masculine, were not healthy for her in the long run.

Susan Hartzler's book focuses on why you don't need to be married to enjoy a fulfilling life.
Susan Hartzler with her dogs, Blondie and El-Vez, shown with the Mexican Elvis. Photo submitted.

“I don’t blame myself for the kind of men I find attractive. I mean, who wouldn’t like to be around a bad boy?”

That is, as she describes in her book, until the relationships become toxic, abusive, and emotionally damaging to the person on the receiving end.

Breaking Free from a Damaging Relationship

Which of our needs do the bad boys satisfy?

Susan sheds light on what she believes was missing in her own life.

“I think it has to do with my narcissistic mother. I am attracted to men who are a lot like her,” she said.

For Susan, the possibility of entering into another unhealthy relationship keeps her off the emotional rollercoaster and out of the dating pool completely. At 60, she has chosen to train her own dogs, who are actors and models, and she is an award-winning writer, blogger, and public relations professional. She and her dogs also volunteer for Therapy Dogs International, a New Jersey-based volunteer organization that trains, tests, and registers therapy dogs. The handlers and their dogs visit hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, schools, or anywhere they can provide love, comfort, and support to individuals in need.

Susan’s Tips for an Emotionally Healthier You in 2022

How to Steer Clear of the Bad Boys

  • Watch for the red flags;
  • Follow your gut and get out of the relationship if something doesn’t feel right;
  • Start by accepting it (your need for the bad boys);
  • Work on loving yourself;
  • Don’t allow your needs to define who you are;
  • Celebrate your bonds with your dog(s) and friends and continue to nurture those relationships; and
  • Consider saving a dog and rescuing yourself from unhealthy relationships.

Self-Love A Key to Happiness

Keep in mind…

“There’s nothing more attractive than a person who loves themselves. And as soon as you love yourself, you might decide you don’t need a plus 1 to be happy.”

Susan Hartzler, susanhartzler.com


Treat yourself to a copy of “I’m Not Single, I Have a Dog: Dating Tales from the Bark Side” by Susan Hartzler.

You can buy Susan’s book by using my Amazaon affiliate link at no additional cost to you.

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