Your Next Dog

You’ll love her, but you’ll love her differently.

Hanna Brooks Olsen
11 min readMay 12, 2023
Photo by Partha Narasimhan on Unsplash

I don’t remember the first time I heard the phrase “heart dog,” but I’m reasonably sure I rumpled my entire face into my skull so hard that a person standing behind me could have seen the revulsion. There are some words and phrases that I just do not like. They’re cloying and saccharine. I also put “making love” (barf) and “dog mom” in this category. Which surprises people because I am a person who has had a number of dogs over the years, however (and this may come as a surprise), I never gave birth to any of them.

Which doesn’t mean the only valid moms are the ones who give birth — that’s just not true—it just means that I find it a bit paternalistic. I usually think of my dogs as my roommates. I guess I’m just not a romantic type of person.

So I bristle at the phrase “heart dog,” — which is, for the uninitiated— the dog that a person has in their care who officially makes them a Dog Carer. It’s the dog that rearranges the parts of you into a better, more loving, more tender human. It’s the dog who is Your Dog and whose loss feels like the loss of a limb or an organ.