Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted a dog. With the mandatory coronavirus shutdown keeping me at home, I figured this is a great time to meet and bond with a pup. So, I contacted Broadway’s foremost animal behaviorist and trainer, Bill Berloni, for advice. Bill has been training all the dogs on Broadway dating back to the original Sandy in the 1977 performances of “Annie.”

“[You should adopt] something small, something that could travel with you if you had to go on short distances,” Bill began. “Something that’s social, something that would require some exercise. So, a smaller type of dog, with a big personality.”

After checking in with Bill and rescue organizations like the Humane Society and Best Friends Animal Society, Tony nominee and animal advocate Orfeh sent me a text message of a Chihuahua/Terrier mix from PupStarz Rescue.

I immediately contacted the not-for-profit and filled out an application. A couple days later, I found out that my application was being reviewed. Though normally done in person – given social distancing rules – I had to connect with the rescue organization virtually.

The co-founder of PupStarz, Constance Mensink, had me give her a tour of my apartment through FaceTime. She had to make sure my home was “dog-friendly.” After about a half hour of chatting, Mensink ended the interview with “Congratulations! You are approved for Alfie!”



Before meeting Alfie, I ran to the pet store to buy the essentials — you know, food, bowls, a leash.  

I placed an online curbside pick-up order with Petco and headed to the 92nd Street and Broadway location after receiving my confirmation and waited outside in line for about 30 minutes. 

Once it was my turn, the Petco representative took my name and confirmation number to fill my order. I wasn’t allowed to enter the store because of COVID-19 rules and they were also short on staff.

 As soon as I saw the representative heading towards me with bags, I called an Uber. I checked the bags outside on the street — just in case things were missing something — and sure enough they were.  I begged my Uber driver to stay put and asked the Petco representative to help me find bowls for my pup. Anything would do at this point, the same went for the leash.  She was able to sell me 2 small cat bowls and the only leash they had left in stock. Twenty minutes later, I was on my way back to my apartment to drop off the materials.

So, now it was time to officially meet Alfie. I headed to his foster mom’s neighborhood. Danielle and I began corresponding via Instagram once I showed interest in Alfie a few days prior, and she was nothing but helpful and supportive. Once I arrived to the Upper East Side, we did our best to be socially distant in the park. Even though Alfie was a little shy at first, I knew he was the one. I adopted Alfie on the spot and brought him back to my apartment where I introduced him to my best friend and housemate Meghan via FaceTime.

Meghan is currently quarantined upstate in Buffalo, New York. Meghan and I have an ongoing FaceTime chat with the pup for about an hour every night at around 6 PM. I want him to get familiar with her, and her voice.

I also introduced Alfie to Orfeh. Orfeh’s response was that he looks just like Teddy, the understudy for Chico who played Bruiser in “Legally Blonde” the musical. 



Fun fact: Orfeh starred in the show opposite her husband Andy Karl. She was nominated for a Tony for her performance as Paulette. And Andy and Orfeh ended up adopting one of the pups from the show, Boo Boo, who also understudied “Chico.”

Alfie has been living with me for more than a week now, and he’s a great companion. Though still adjusting, I’m trying to get him comfortable in our home (he went through some trauma before making his way to PupStarz). I’m also trying to get him on a schedule — early morning walks, afternoon and evening walks, etc. He’s already a hit with my friends and family, and they are all loving on him via Zoom and FaceTime.



As the Burt Bacharach and Hal David tune asks “What’s it all about, Alfie?” well, let’s just say adopting Alfie during a worldwide pandemic may not have been easy, but having him safe with me in his forever-home — THAT is perfection. And yes, it’s all about love.