As a blogger, humorist, and New York Times best-selling author, Jenny Lawson has the unique ability to make discerning readers laugh with abandon. Whether it’s about being a general misfit or committing any number of parenting foibles, Lawson frequently takes an unapologetic stance on topics both big and small — from her favorite dead raccoon to modern-day marriage to clinical depression — usually with the primary goal of making you giggle. Living in the Texas Hill Country, this hilarious writer is a mom to both human (a daughter named Hailey) and animal children, all ripe for the picking when it comes to her special brand of humor.
To celebrate her new book, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, hitting shelves today, we caught up with Jenny to talk about her furry dog kid, Dorothy Barker.
Dogster: Dorothy Barker seems pretty cool — tell us all about her!
Jenny Lawson: Dorothy Barker is a Papillon, and — much like her namesake — she is perpetually in trouble and always entertaining. I’d always said I’d never have another dog after our Pug died, but this dog insisted on coming home with us.
From Jenny’s blog post about the moment she accepted Dorothy Barker:
Then last night she whimpered as she was put in her crate, so I moved her next to my bed and put my hand on her until she was comforted enough to sleep. I told myself not to look, but at midnight I turned on my phone so I could use its glow to check on her.
She’d curled into a small, content ball, and the odd markings on her side smooshed together to make a tiny perfect heart. Well, not perfect exactly, as a small line broke the heart in the middle.
Then, as I watched, she snuggled up tighter and the heart became whole. And she was mine. And vice versa.
You got Dorothy Barker in January. What’s been the biggest challenge with her so far?
Teaching her that cats aren’t toys. And that floors aren’t toilets. And that I’m not a chew toy.
What do you enjoy most about having her around?
She is the biggest snuggler. If you have a lap, then she has a seat.
What’s her personality like? What does she enjoy?
She enjoys playing with the cats and eating shoes, important paperwork, and anything not nailed down. I suspect I will find her chewing on the ceiling fans soon.
What does your daughter think of her? Are they pals? Frenemies?
Hailey adores Dottie and vice versa. They are partners in crime, and if I can’t find one, the other is sure to be with her.
What’s the funniest thing Dottie has ever done?
Once, Dottie was sitting on [my husband] Victor’s lap, and he insisted she was smiling. She was not smiling. She was preparing to vomit. All over Victor.
Describe Dottie in three words.
Adoring. Adored. Adorable.
Anything else we should know about your pup?
She can jump like some sort of circus animal. I think she might be part kangaroo.
What do your precious pets (who also include cats Ferris Mewler, Rolly, and Hunter S. Thomcat) think of your taxidermy obsession? Does it keep them on their best behavior?
I have to keep the taxidermy high because otherwise the cats think there are other animals in the house and they get pissy. Literally.
Before we let you go, please tell us about your new book, Furiously Happy. Did any of your pets help you write it?
Furiously Happy is a book I wrote about dealing with mental illness. It doesn’t seem like it would be a good topic for a humor book, but I was very drunk when I wrote most of it so it all worked out. The animals all enter into the book and helped me write it. Except for that one time when Hunter, one of my cats, deleted a chapter by sitting on the keyboard. Now I have an unplugged keyboard I keep next to my working one, so he can sit on it.
Check out The Bloggess website and buy Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things! You can also follow Jenny on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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About the author: Whitney C. Harris is a New York-based freelance writer for websites including StrollerTraffic, Birchbox and WhattoExpect.com. A former book and magazine editor, she enjoys running (with Finley), watching movies (also with Finley), and cooking meatless meals (usually with Finley watching close by).