Which Crazy 'Dog Parent' Are You?

This is the age of the unbearable coolness of dogs


A spread from the book Little Dogs, published by Chronicle Books.

Last week, I met someone who bakes dog biscuits for an upmarket restaurant chain. This is an actual job now. Gone are the days when a dog’s place was in the field, or at least in the home. They’re everywhere: out of the stable and at the top table, from cafes to shops, posh hotels to the red carpet.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, actress Jennifer Lawrence expressed deep love for her little brown dog, Pippi Longstocking. She described how last Christmas, her mother commissioned a portrait of Pippi from a 14-year-old fan in New Zealand.

The magazine reported: “At first, the actress hung the portrait in her Los Angeles home only when her mom visited before realising, ‘F--- it. I am the person who has an acrylic painting of her dog’, and proudly showcased it above her fireplace. ‘I am a psychotic dog mom in a way that I am genuinely embarrassed about. If I could put her inside me and give birth to her I would’.”

Lawrence, 26, also went on to claim that if she was to become a mother to an actual baby, that child would also have to take second place to her pet.

She’s not alone in her psychotic-dog-mommery. Whereas once it was all about the “crazy cat lady”, in the past few years it seems everyone I know has acquired a dog. Friends swap details of dog-friendly establishments and discuss the benefits of certain employers allowing you to take Fido to the office as a perk akin to a pension plan.

READ: Don't Call Me a Crazy Cat Lady

This year has seen a pack of dog books to reflect this tide of doggy devotion. From Miranda Hart’s Peggy and Me (Peggy’s her bichon frise), to Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs (Nigel is Monty Don’s golden retriever; he has his own Twitter account, @MontysDogNigel, with more than 22,000 followers), and India Knight’s The Goodness of Dogs.

This is the age of the unbearable coolness of dogs. Flip through a magazine or click on a gossip site and you’ll be bombarded with pictures of celebs and their pooches, whether it’s Daisy Lowe assuaging Strictly Come Dancing disappointment by walking her Maltese, Monty, around Primrose Hill, Kate Moss cosying up with her Staffie, Archie, or Simon Cowell on a far-flung beach canoodling with his Yorkshire terriers, Freddy, Squiddly and Diddly.

It’s understandable, really. When the world gets more crazy every day, what is more comforting that the dependable decency of dogs?

Which kind of psychotic ‘dog parent’ are you?

Utility class
Found stomping across fields or high streets in a comely combination of threadbare tweed and cashmere, or fleece and dirty denim. Every jacket, coat or trouser pocket contains bags for picking up dog poo and ancient dog treat crumbs. Smells faintly of dog, obviously, but this is one of the ways in which these particular kinds of dog owners seek each other out. They see the constant layer of dog hair as extra insulation and may make well-rehearsed jokes about extra layers for warmth (ha HA!) if you mention it.

Team player
Their dogs are less pets, more of running companions, coaches and motivators. They see their hounds as furry FitBits and are most likely to give them sporty names like Scout, Rocky and Buzz. These dogs are most likely to own hi-vis panniers for carrying torches and maps, even in town. This type of dog mum or dad is least likely to allow their dogs on to the furniture, at least not when anyone’s looking.

High-maintenance mummies
There is a certain kind of dog parent who sees their dog as a style extension of themselves. Their dogs are most likely to have wardrobes that would put a society hostess to shame. Diamante for evening? Sure, pass the collar! Argyll sweater for country weekends? All the colourways. Cute polkadot raincoat for drizzly days in town? Absolutely. This owner is most likely to see signature organic dog cologne as essential and have the schedule of the local doga (dog yoga classes, of course) programmed into her phone. There’s a lint roller by every door and in every glove compartment.

READ: Dog-Friendly Cafes in Auckland

Meet my fur baby
These people’s dogs pass their days in soothing rounds of organic dog food dinners, probably homemade, and puppy play dates, possibly catered. It’s highly likely that their pets have their own social media accounts, which enjoy a greater number of followers than those of their owners. These dog mums buy dehydrators solely to prepare dried liver treats and sweet potato chews for their little darlings. Most likely to allow their dog on to the bed (and under the covers).

Hip houndster
These dog crazies love the credibility a rescued hound bestows, with extra points for the farther away the dog has come. French rescues are a bit passe; Romanian ones bestow greater kudos. They have the SPCA website bookmarked and just can’t resist the doleful eyes and X Factor-style tragic backstories. No one ever speaks of the untrainable one, which never gave up being bitey and was “disappeared” one day. If they have a pure breed it will be because - wouldn’t you know it? - it turns out French bulldogs are the only dogs they’re not allergic to.

- The Daily Telegraph

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