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Nice Things 2018 With NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour Host Linda Holmes


New Year's Eve is an opportunity for many of us to take a moment to reflect on the past year and the things we want to change in the next year and the things that were good about the year we're leaving behind. With that in mind, my colleague, Michel Martin, has been asking NPR podcast hosts this simple question - what gave you joy this year, especially if it was unexpected?

MICHEL MARTIN, BYLINE: And here's where we confess we stole - I mean, borrowed - this idea from the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, which features regular What's Making Us Happy episodes. So who better to share her joy of the year than Linda Holmes? She's one of the Pop Culture Happy Hour hosts. Linda, so good to have you.

LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE: Oh, of course. Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: First things first. What made you happy this year?

HOLMES: So I saw a lot of television and movies and wonderful things that I talk about all the time. But, really, I confess what made me happy this year was that I got a dog, a little whippet greyhound sort of medium-sized dog, is about - only about 35 pounds. He's just right for my apartment. And that is the most joyful thing that has happened to me this year...

MARTIN: What's his name?

HOLMES: His name is Brian. He came with that name. And I was going to change it. But, then, I realized he's such a Brian. You just can't - I couldn't change it...

MARTIN: (Laughter).

HOLMES: And when you get a dog, not only do you get the pleasures of the dog - of cuddling with the dog and walking with the dog and having the dog wag his entire back end when you come home - but you also get to be introduced to the dog Internet, where, you know, people talk about their dogs and how do they take care of them. And...

MARTIN: It's like a whole new world here.

HOLMES: It's a whole new world. It gets me out playing with different, you know, dogs in the dog park. We go meet people in the neighborhood. It's just wonderful. It's the best thing.

MARTIN: What made 2018 the year you decided to get a dog?

HOLMES: You know, I had never lived in a building that was really dog-friendly before. So when I got to this building, I suddenly thought, you know, I could have a dog. I've had family dogs when I was growing up, but I had never had my own dog. So this is my first - my own solo dog.

MARTIN: Are you glad that we asked you so that you could share? Are you one of these people who's, like, having discovered the joys of being a dog parent that, now, you kind of want to tell everybody, but you kind of worry that people don't want to hear it? So...

HOLMES: Yeah. I mean, I'm in my 40s. And I never particularly wanted kids, so I don't have kids. And I never got to be that person who is insisting on telling you everything because it means so much to you, and you just struggle to make it mean something to other people the way people do with their kids, Halloween costumes and other things. So, to me, now I'm the person who wants to show you - every time he has fun doing something, I want to talk about how good he is. So yes...

MARTIN: Well, you can come show me your dog pictures anytime. I would like to see them...

HOLMES: There are millions of them. The dog is on Instagram @primodogcontent.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

HOLMES: That's where I keep him on Instagram, and you can see many pictures of him.

MARTIN: I absolutely am going to do that. So, for all the cat people out there or for people who have not yet embraced the joys of being a pet parent, is there a takeaway from what you found joy in that, perhaps, you could share that might have broader applicability?

HOLMES: I think that there is a relationship that happens between people and pets that is really hard to understand if you aren't the person with the pet. But when you're in that relationship, it's so intense. And it's the dependence of the pet on you, but it's also the unselfishness of pet love, which everybody knows about dogs. And, sometimes, people say cats are different. But I think, you know, having a pet love you back is a really special thing. And...

MARTIN: Maybe it's the joy of being responsible for something outside of yourself. Could it be...

HOLMES: I think that's exactly right.

MARTIN: That's Linda Holmes. You can catch her at NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast or at the dog park. Linda, thank you so much, and happy holidays to you and Brian.

HOLMES: Thank you, Michel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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