A Lexicon of Dogs and Their Owners in Pop Culture

Today I decided to finally wise up and start reading about the Coronavirus, and – you’re never going to believe this, guys – five minutes later, I started suffering from symptoms of Coronavirus. Not the coughing, but the shortness of breath. Not quite a fever, but certainly very warm. In that moment, I decided I had Coronavirus. A moment later, I realised that the shortness of breath was actually the product of a small panic attack, and that I needed to calm down.

My method of calming down is to look at pictures of dogs, and thinking funny thoughts about them. Here are those dogs; here are those thoughts.

If you see any of these dogs in a film, this is what’s going on.

Golden Retriever

You are a widower. Maaaaaaan, are you a widower. Your wife? Dead.

“Ah, man, Beth, you would have loved her. Kind. Considerate. Always whispering to me from under a white sheet, her hair iridescent gold as the morning sunlight shoots through it.” The day you got Bunkley, your golden retriever, Beth was so happy. That was one of Beth’s emotions. Beth’s other emotion was dying, and when Beth died, Bunkley lay his noble head on her stomach. Take care of my big guy, Beth said to Bunkley. He’s not as tough as he looks!

Your first girlfriend, the predatory one who muscles in way too soon after Beth, she won’t like Bunkley at all. Bunkley! Don’t jump up on Veronica, she hates dogs! Your second girlfriend, though, she loves dogs. Name TBC, but Bunkley likes her a lot.

Italian Greyhound

You are, uhhh, how you say, gay? Foreign and gay? Ah, yes, you dress your thin-thin dog in small-small outfits and you are very mean to this, uhhh, sad brown hair girl. “You are a New Yorker? Yes? And you want to work in…. ze fashion?” Your English is not very good, except when you suddenly say words like “migraine” or “catastophe”, as in “this sad brown hair girl’s catastrophique clothing choices are giving me and Pierre a migraine”.


You are the young widow of a murdered billionaire who will not leave her suite of powder-pink rooms and keeps asking the detective if he wants a drink. Miss! I’m on the clock! You have a hell of a lot of lost time to account for from the night of the murder, and don’t be foolish enough to think I’m going to be distracted by that insipid little dog of yours. Can you shut that thing up? My god, that yapping. You know what miss? I’ll take that drink.

Your suite has obviously not been serviced by the maids for weeks – a sign of where your standing is in the household. Dog hair has matted into the carpets, and there are small, hard turds on the ground. His children are never going to let you inherit. The Pomeranian casually destroys a jewel-coloured slingback as you weep into your champagne. Listen to me: Get out of here, baby. They will never let you inherit.


Foffofofofff, ahhh! Yesss! You are a massive posh weirdo, so massive and weird and posh are thee. You laugh a lot but never at jokes. Your dog wanders into your darkened study where you torture the peons who work for you, his cheeks wobbling, his breath heaving. Somehow we, the filmmakers, have managed to convey a sort of fat phobic villain-edit through your bulldog. Your bulldog is benign and useless most of the time, until a small but imperceptible slight is committed, and then he is vicious and scary. This is a metaphor for the Empire. You fuck pigs.

Shih Tzu

You are an old, old woman. Everything around you is thick and dense and pink: not the airy pink of the young widow, but the over-ripe putrescent pink of a swollen face. All the materials in your house are expensive without feeling at all luxurious. If anyone sits down they are swallowed by couch. There is an uncovered box of chocolates. The papers rustle extremely loudly when you take one and eat it. Your hand in the chocolate box is like a stone boulder hitting a village. We, the filmmakers, added that noise in post so we could make clear how gross you are. Your dog has a dumb ponytail at the top of his head and he is called Cigarillo. He hates everyone, except you, which is correct.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Your wife is dead, but this time you’re Canadian.

Chinese Crested

You are the young girlfriend of a mob boss. You are extremely dumb and nobody is nice to you. He has set you up in a nice little apartment in Queens, real nice, you got everything, microwave oven, private entrance, rotating hangers in the wardrobe, everything. Your dog is weird and bad, but Frankie’s allergic to dog hair so you thought by getting a hairless pet that maybe Frankie wouldn’t mind so much and still come over. He still comes over, but not as often as you would like him to, but that’s ok, you got the dog! You’re never lonely. You got the dog.

Jack Russell Terrier

You are either an eight year old boy in a movie who has the whole summer ahead of him, or you are a freelance writer who probably doesn’t have Coronavirus.