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!

Tell Us in the Comments

What do you think?

19 Responses

  1. Claiborne

    For Hanukkah this year, I’m giving you Richard. xo

  2. Lauren Young

    Don’t tell Kamila!

  3. Kamila

    Oh Snap…Lauren young. I’d like to dispute a specific part in this article but Richard and I know our love is pure so there is no need. 🙂
    Nevertheless…great article!!!!

  4. Paul

    Excellent blog, and I appreciate the link to Julie’s B.U.D.

    Our current dachshund is named Beau. He’s a nut, but lovable. Ginger, who preceded Beau, hated everyone in a uniform or a hat of any kind. Since I acquired her as a puppy, I have no idea how she developed that neurosis. Beau has a million quirks, but we don’t know about his childhood, as he’s an adopt-o-pup and definitely had some hard times on the mean streets of Greenwich Village before getting rescued, fostered, and delivered into our care.

  5. Margit Detweiler
    Margit Detweiler

    Lauren would regularly scold me for not keeping our white Westie named Mac shampooed and sparkly. She loved him more than we did I think.

  6. Alonzo T. Weinstein

    I am outright insulted! You mentioned 9 dogs as “The Dogs I Have Loved” as well you described your specific affection for 5 others; yet my name is nowhere to be found. I thought our summer affection was mutual but I’m obviously mistaken. I honestly question your true love for all canines or was it merely an easy piece to write, quickly.

  7. Lauren Young

    Zo, I didn’t mean to slight you. But perhaps you need anger management training after sending me the following email… (I hear the Dog Whisperer gives good deals for first-time students.)

    “I rank below the following for your affection and based on the 4 existing comments, I don’t see any of them commenting!

    Pearl – Old Lady dog name
    Zelda – Old man dog name
    Beau – Country Club wanna be dog
    Duffy – Drunk dog!
    Zina – Hitler sympathizer
    Brandon – Gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that
    Kayla – Named after the mean girls who bullied my mother as a child
    Boo Boo – Named for The Who – Deaf, dumb and blind
    Wallace – A relocated Main Line snooty dog”

  8. Wallace

    I am not snooty. I had to live in a cold barn and my awesome mommy saved me. I learned a lot living on the hard streets of Gladwyne, PA.

  9. Beau

    As a fellow canine, I do sympathize when you feel ignored. In my later years, I developed colitis, which gave me an unfortunate odor – alienating me from my friends and family. Maybe your parents should groom you more.

  10. Alonzo T. Weinstein

    How does one pronounce Beau? Is it Bow, like the necktie you wear to get into that Country Club you want to attend; or is it Boo like you’re scaring someone? Also, I do feel for your nasty odor. At the current time, it’s not an issue for me. I do concede that I have excess flatulence but I’m pretty sure that’s normal. Lastly, @Wallace, I recognize your anger issues and kindly take Aunt Lauren’s advice previously given to me.



  11. Celeste McCauley


  12. Carol Sacks

    Lauren, I’ve been dog-obsessed since I was eleven and with the exception of a 9-month mourning period after putting down my sweet mini-dachshund, Lucy, have had a dog for more than 20 years. I loved your post and can’t wait to read about your next pup — maybe, 2014? 🙂

  13. Leslie Farnsworth

    I had post-dog-adoption depression after I got my dog Ramona about eleven years ago now. I went from single, fancy-free, no other creature dependent upon me, with an immaculate house to suddenly being desperately needed as often as possible by a creature that completely upended my immaculate dwelling.

    After a short few weeks of wondering what the heck I’d done to myself, I realized that the love and the relationship she and I built made everything–EVERYTHING–worth it. She’s my best friend, my confidant, and she’s taught me more than I could ever have imagined.

    In summary: Get a dog.

  14. Lauren Young

    Leslie: I love this anecdote. Send me a photo of Ramona. STAT

  15. Jenifer Maslow

    I’ll make my comment short, I hope you don’t get to the Rainbow bridge any time soon! The sappiest poem, and everytime I read it, I start to cry…anyway, love the one your that is.

  16. Bonnie Young

    I love this piece, I laughed so hard I cried. Of course, I’m prejudiced. I am Lauren Young’s mother and mother and grandmother of Pearl,Duffy, Zelda, Booboo and Wallace, I too have no dog at the moment but I have a great gig, I rent dogs. I live in a condominium and offer to babysit my neighbors dogs. It’s a great situation because I get that doggie love and then, just like grandchildren ,send them home to their parents.

    It also true that our family has an unusual love dogs. They add so much to our lives . Boo-boo, our dog with the eating disorder could have volumes written about her. When she was a puppy we said her to “doggy debutantes school” at a posh , very prominent, mainline estate . Booboo was a bit pathetic in the midst of all her purebred AKA canine classmates.
    Unfortunately ,she flunked and was expelled when she insisted on eating all the other pupil’s treats when they obeyed their masters
    She is so hungry all the time that she runs right through the invisible fence when let out and goes immediately to the the ,rather chubby ,neighbors across the street, knocks down the trashcan and get some of the best leftovers and garbage in the neighborhood.

  17. Bo

    Love this article…

  18. Sue

    I love this article. It’s time to get a dog! Otherwise, your son could end up like me, taking in multiple dogs in need of homes. I attribute this to my parents’ divorce, when the dog went to live with my dad. I’ve had multiple dogs for more than 20 years. They’ve all been so much more than dogs to me. I’ve been heartbroken each time one has died, and then immediately find another pup in need of a family. I keep all the ashes in my nightstand, so they can be close to me. I want to be cremated when I die and will direct my kids to mix up my ashes with my husband’s and those of our pets, and then scatter them across our favorite pond in Vermont. So yes, I get why you love dogs so much.

  19. Teresa Misagal

    feel free to come over to williamsburg and get some dailolallie love! this story is hilarious! and you know i can help you find a dog when you’re ready, too. wink wink


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