If You Don’t Like My Dog, You’re Dead to Me — and 5 Other Things You Should Know

That awkward moment when you realize you hate your friend's girlfriend because she insulted your dog? Yeah, been there.


Matt is one of my husband’s best friends. He was in our wedding. We vacation together. Last week, he went with me to see Showgirls! The Musical! at a gay club in Hell’s Kitchen because no one else would go. He is smart and kind and lovely. Matt deserves a wonderful lady friend.

Three years ago, however, I realized that I hated Matt’s girlfriend-of-the-moment. We’ll call her Girl X. Girl X was fine on paper — successful, pretty, blah, blah, blah — but she was dead to me the second she shunned my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, shrieking, “Eww, he has dog breath.”

Let’s be clear. Braxlee does not have dog breath. And she’s female. And Girl X should have been delighted that Braxlee attempted to reward her existence with puppy kisses.

Over the years, various friends have begged me to reveal Girl X’s name. I honestly don’t remember it. It wasn’t worth the effort after she insulted my dog. (Also, Matt stopped seeing her shortly after the incident. I choose to believe that Girl X was discarded based on her anti-Braxlee comments. Matt will not confirm my suspicions.)

But back to Braxlee and me …

Braxlee and I have been together for nearly eight years. In 2005, while I still lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I decided that my lifelong dream of getting a Golden Retriever might not be compatible with my lifelong dream of living in D.C. It was time to look to smaller breeds.

Matt’s girlfriend at that time had a Cavalier, and I was impressed by her dog’s big-dog attitude in a small-dog package. With a little encouragement from my boyfriend (now my husband), I began my puppy search.

Of course, this was post-Katrina Louisiana, and three of the four Cavalier breeders in the state were displaced by the storm. (The remaining breeder offered $3,000 show dogs, which I couldn’t afford.) The search continued until I stumbled upon Braxlee in Atwood, Kansas. The breeder checked out with the network of Cavalier breeders I had come to know during my dog search. I had a puppy.

Six days before Christmas, my dad flew out west to retrieve Braxlee for me. She flew in the cabin, and she didn’t make a sound during the flight. (That scared Dad, who had never flown with a puppy before.)

Braxlee and I met for the first time in the New Orleans airport, just four months after the same building had been used as a storm shelter for displaced New Orleans residents. I know that many people who stayed in Louisiana through the storm associate that airport with death and decay. For me, it’s the place where I met my best friend.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, I’m obsessed with my dog. And that means we aren’t going to be friends if you don’t like Braxlee. I won’t even remember your name. It may seem like a short-sighted policy, but Facebook tells me I have plenty of friends. I even have two people waiting to be my friends. Two. People. (Clearly, I’m balanced and popular.)

Since I’m baring my soul here, I have to admit that my like-my-dog-or-you’re-dead-to-me stance isn’t my only hang up. Here are five more things you should know before we embark on a virtual friendship.

1. Braxlee and I have matching raincoats

We live in San Francisco. It’s foggy. Yellow is the most visible color in bad weather. Plus we look cute walking down the street in our matching jackets. Don’t judge.

2. My dog sleeps in my bed

Some people argue that dogs shouldn’t sleep with their people. My mother even sent me a Huffington Post article explaining that I could DIE from letting Braxlee sleep in the bed. I don’t care. I can’t think of a better way to go than from a puppy snuggle overload.

3. I like puppy kisses — even on my face

Look, I understand that my dog eats discarded food off the sidewalk and licks her hindquarters. I know that all that disgusting stuff is making its way into my pores. But I live for the moments when Braxlee jumps in my lap and starts licking my face.

4. Braxlee will always be my “puppy”

My dog is almost eight. I still refer to her as a puppy. Occasionally, a sassy kid informs me that puppies are baby dogs, and Braxlee is more of a senior citizen. This serves as a reminder that children were meant to be seen, not heard.

5. I have over 1,000 pictures of Braxlee on my phone

I Instagram them. And Facebook them. And show them to people at parties when I bring my dog up in conversation. Sample conversation:

Unsuspecting Party Guest: Do you have any pictures of your dog?

Me: I have 500. Would you like to see a slideshow?

UPG: No, one is enough.

Me: I don’t think you understand how cute my dog is.

(Again, I somehow continue to have friends. Go figure.)

So I’m basically nuts about my dog, and I don’t have time for people who can’t accept that. Am I terrible and closed-minded for my dog-centric views? Do you have your own pro-puppy hangups? Let’s take this discussion to the comments. Or maybe just share our favorite recipes for homemade dog treats. Your call.

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