True love is loving your dog’s bad breath unconditionally

True love is loving your dog’s bad breath unconditionally
Pets & Their People features ‘how we met’ vignettes of dogs and their humans, uncovering the particulars of this unique relationship, from touching adoption tales to outlandish quirks.
Rachel Antonoff is the founder and designer for her namesake fashion brand. Her five-year-old adopted pup, Lafitte, is kind, mellow and looks really good in red. We visited their Brooklyn apartment, which is cozy and adorned in whimsical prints, and learned about how they like to spend their weekends (lots of chill couch time), and Rachel’s Lafitte-inspired designs (there’s quite a few).

Wild One: Tell us the Rachel & Lafitte meet-cute.

Rachel Antonoff: I adopted Lafitte five years ago. I’d been searching for a dog for a long time and found this app called BarkBuddy, which is basically Tinder for rescue dogs. I spent so much time on the app that the BarkBuddy staff took note of my puppy preferences, and began sending adoption recommendations. That’s how I found Lafitte!

A rescue agency saved Lafitte from a Los Angeles kill shelter. He was on a ‘24 hours to be destroyed’ list. That’s actually what they called it! I happened to be in town and went to meet him and the rescue team at a hotel. I get to the lobby, the elevator opens, and out runs this five-month-old puppy whose hind legs don’t work. He’d take a few steps and then keel over. Of course, I was desperately in love immediately.

Lafitte modeling the Wild One Harness

Wild One: But he walks just fine now! How did that happen?

RA: It was winter when we returned to Brooklyn. Lafitte would walk outside and sort of drag his hind legs on the cold pavement, which was a big issue for obvious reasons. I brought him to vets who recommended we get him wheels. I was planning to do so, but noticed that he was using his hind legs occasionally, and it seemed a shame to throw in the towel. We basically just kept walking and his legs slowly got stronger. His hind legs definitely look different from his front legs, but that’s just fine with me! 

Wild One: Did you grow up with dogs?

RA: Not exactly. I grew up thinking that Jews didn’t have cats and dogs. By way of my parents and maybe some childhood friends, that somehow became ingrained in me. I remember asking my parents for a dog when I was a kid, and they were like “eh, too much work,” and that was it. I did have a lizard, which I won at a fair. We had to feed him crickets, and to this day my mom thinks our family started the cricket infestation of Long Beach Island.

Despite that, I’ve always absolutely loved dogs, especially rescues. Rescuing is so important and I’ve learned a lot about the adoption world since adopting Lafitte. There are so many dogs out there that need rescuing, who are born into unjust industries, such as the meat trade, that people don’t even think of.

Wild One: What has adopting a dog meant to you?

RA: Adopting a dog has been one of the paramount things in my life. I knew I loved animals, but I wasn’t prepared for this level of meaningfulness. Lafitte brings me so much joy. Like, I truly love everything about him. I even love his bad breath.

Wild One: Where does the name Lafitte come from?

RA: My uncle had a Bichon when I was growing up - the one exception to ‘Jews don’t have dogs.’ The dog’s name was Lafitte and my brother and I thought that was hilarious. When I got a dog, we had to bring that name back.

Wild One: How would you describe Lafitte?

RA: Very treat motivated! Otherwise, just super mellow. He loves to sit and relax, making him a great dog for me! Even as a puppy, he was chill to a point where I was worried something was wrong. Occasionally he’ll get a jolt of energy, which is especially adorable because it’s so rare.

Wild One: Any clothing inspired by Lafitte?

RA: Yes, he has some panes in the Gertrude blouse. He plays a role in a lot of my designs.

Editor’s Note: Of course this shirt is very Lafitte inspired!

Photo credit: Sam Liebeskind

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