Love+, Pets + Animals
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The Dogs I Have Loved: Although None of Them Are Mine


I have an abnormal love of dogs.

At least that’s what a former boyfriend said when he broke up with me. (Also on the list — which you can review here — is that I’m not political enough, and that I’m a loud clapper.)

I do, admittedly, have an irrational love of dogs. I love them more than humans. My favorite movie is Best in Show — and I actually go to the Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show in New York City every year. (The movie ain’t too far from the truth.)

I must have been a dog in a former life: I sense them from blocks away. If I had a tail, it would start to wag when I saw a furry friend on the street.

I know my dog breeds cold, but please don’t ask me to pick a favorite. Although, if pressed, I’m partial to the following: Puli (Rasta dogs), Poodles (the may look wussy but they are super-smart) and Poodle mixes, along with any shaggy-looking mutt.

I also know how to say “Hello, Dog” in many languages, which is very important for international relations. “Hallo, Hund” (German), “Szia, Kutya” (Hungarian), “Bon Jour, Chien” (French), “Hola, Perro” (Spanish) and more.

Dogs are sweet. Dogs are soft. Dogs are warm. Dogs give you unconditional love. That’s why the dog is Lauren’s Best Friend.

So what’s even more abnormal than my abnormal love of dogs is though I’m the person who loves dogs the most — I DO NOT HAVE ONE.

I grew up with dogs, lived with pooches in college as well as at the start of my working career in Washington and New York. Why?

Well, I live in a New York City apartment, work crazy hours and travel a lot. I also have a kid to take care of — a dog, I fear, might push me over the maternal limit.

To make up for the lack of a canine in my life, I make it my business to know every dog in my neighborhood and beyond.

There’s Bean, of Coonhound provenance who comes bounding down the block — dragging her owner with her — as soon as I call her name. She loves to jump up on her hind legs to give me a quick kiss. There is also Diva, a big ball of Maltipoo fluff who goes nuts when she sees me, and a ginormous slobbery Great Pyrenees named Buck, who says “Hi” by leaning into me and shedding his white hair all over my obligatory black attire. (I don’t mind one bit.)

My heart is big, so there are many more four-legged friends to love. Another top dog in my life is a handsome mutt hound named Ricky, whom I call Richard. Richard belongs to friends who have three kids. My friend Kamila and I literally fight like schoolgirls for his affection. She bribes him with treats, but I know he would move in with me in an instant.

There is also Phoebe, the bomb-sniffing black lab who is based in my Times Square office building. My day is instantly better if I get to pet Phoebe when I wade my way through the European tourists and into the Thomson Reuters lobby. (I take odd comfort in the fact that she knows my scent and would be able to find my body in the event of a terrorist attack.)

Have no fear: A dog is in my no-so-distant future. My son is almost at an age where he can walk a dog around the block, and my significant other is down with the canine program.

When I die, my dream is to be reunited in heaven with The Dogs I Have Loved.

They include:

Pearl, the lovable Cockapoo of my youth who slept at the foot of my bed and had free range of our neighborhood streets. She freaked out if she saw anyone in a uniform.

Zelda, a spunky Jack Russell mix — I watched her get run over by a car, one of the most scarring experiences of my youth.

Beau, a magnificent standard white poodle “with a PhD,” according to my mom, and a passive-aggressive streak. It was the 80s — Beau had big hair and way too many bad haircuts. Really, he was like a person.

Duffy, an exceptionally good-looking and insane (isn’t that always the case) Irish Setter who chased trucks. He managed to find his way back to our childhood house TWICE after my parents got divorced — and my dad moved to another town. Duffy literally ran up the stairs both times and sat right outside of my bedroom door.

Zina, a lovable, chill German Shepard mix I lived with when I first moved to New York City. She walked without a leash and carried cans in her mouth from the grocery store. She died in my arms at the ripe age of about 15.

Brandon, an apricot Toy Poodle I lived with in college. I nicknamed him Floppy Fred, because he literally bounced up and down — ears flying — whenever anyone came to our door.

Kayla, renamed Killer, a sleek Doberman. Kayla had no clue he was a big dog. He only barked at birds. Yet people would literally cross the street when they saw me walking him.

Boo Boo — my sister’s spirited Schnoodle — who was the bridesmaid in daisies at my first wedding (and who is furiously trying to access my breakfast as I write this from my sister’s house on Thanksgiving day). She has an eating disorder and has ingested everything from a tray of brownies (I was taking them to a party) to a tube of Preparation H. She’s eaten more trash than the NYC sanitation truck. I am wondering if Stephen King based “Pet Cemetery” on an animal like Boo Boo. Or maybe she’s a cat with nine lives. She goes nuts when she sees me and literally growls at her brother Wallace (below) who competes for my attention. She is 15, but jumps around like she is two. I love her so much.

Wallace is a very yippy, very licky, very soft Westie, and is also Boo Boo’s brother. Wallace is a sweet boy, with an adorable face. All he wants is to be stroked on his belly and to be loved. He is a pet with several pet names, including “Wally” and “Willis.” He is an excellent companion for a nap. He is a handsome man, I don’t even mind his eyeball boogers. He is spectacular.

And yet, as if on cue…I just stepped on something a little hard on the shaggy brown rug beneath this desk.

Guess what it was?

Oh, look…a few fossilized pieces of poop.

Do I really want a dog?


Tell us about the dogs you abnormally love in the comments box — and be sure to include what makes them so special!

Filed under: Love+, Pets + Animals


Lauren Young

Lauren Young is the Wealth editor at Reuters, where she oversees personal finance, wealth management and investing coverage. Formerly of BusinessWeek and SmartMoney, you can find her on Twitter: @LaurenYoung


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