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Pet Set: Matthew Atkinson

Animal Attraction: “This is Maisel, as in THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL. She was actually Brytnee’s dog, my girlfriend. She had a Dalmatian when she was a kid and then her mom got Maisel for her about 15 months ago, and I came into the picture with Brytnee soon after she got Maisel, so I’ve been a dog dad since pretty much day one.”

How would you describe Maisel’s disposition? “I immediately fell in love with that dog, and I never really thought about Dalmatians because you don’t really see them that often, but she is the sweetest dog in the world. She is so smart, and she’s kind of cunning. She knows what she’s doing. She gets what she wants. She’s too pretty for her own good. She also has way too much energy for her own good, but she is so incredibly smart.”

She seems very photogenic. “Oh, she is. I started an Instagram handle for her. It’s
101dalmaisels. I posted a bunch of pictures of her, so people can follow that if they want to see pictures of her.”

What is your favorite activity to do with her? “Well, we’ve gone camping together. We love going camping together. She is game for anything. Her favorite thing to do is play tug-of-war. We play tug-of-war a lot.”

Did you grow up with pets? “I’ve always been a dog guy. I had a dog when I was a kid, a beagle named Molly, and my mom had a couple of cats so I grew up with animals. We had some fish, too, but I’ve always been a dog guy. I love dogs. I love being around them. I love a dog’s energy, no matter how big or small, but I tend to gravitate toward the big ones because I love to wrestle around.”

Is Maisel a cuddler? “She’s definitely a cuddler. She has a time and a place for everything so she loves to play but she also likes being independent. But, she will literally lay on top of me or Brytnee when we are watching TV. She is very affectionate.”

Does Maisel tend to favor one of you over the other? “Brytnee says all the time that she favors me. I don’t necessarily think that’s true. I think she sees me as the alpha. I have the deep voice and I am also the disciplinarian, so she listens to me more but that doesn’t mean that she favors me more.”

What is your favorite way to spoil Maisel? “She is so food-driven that any food is spoiling her. She will eat anything and be the happiest dog in the world. Sometimes, you have to train certain dogs and each dog has their own things that they want or desire but with Maisel, if you have some chicken, she will just follow you around all day long.”

How is she with going to the vet or the groomer? “She is a great patient. I’ve known some skittish dogs in my day. Maisel just loves people. She likes meeting new people. She’s always happy with people, the more the merrier for her. You can definitely tell in certain places like at the vet if something is bothering her. She knows it’s not going to be a fun experience but typically meeting people and being around new people is always great for her. She is usually a really good patient.”

Do you take her to the dog park? How is she with other dogs? “I have to take her to the dog park. It is a necessity. She needs to get her energy out every day, so usually the dog park is a once-a-day activity. Also, my girlfriend and I both work out a lot so we’ll spend a lot of time at the gym, and the gym that we go to allows us to bring her, so we’ll bring her to the gym with us. She will run around in between classes and she hangs out with all the people and rolls around a bit. A couple of the trainers will bring their dogs so she can get some of her playtime out at the gym, fortunately. If she didn’t have that outlet, we’d have to take her to the dog park two-to-three times a day. She loves the dog park. Gyms where people can bring their dogs [are] great because you don’t need to have doggie day care, and you get to spend extra time with them. They can get their workout in while you get your workout in.”

With Halloween coming up, will Maisel be in costume? “Oh, goodness gracious. I am not a ‘dress your dog up’ kind of guy. Maisel doesn’t actually have to dress up because as long as I wear a fireman’s outfit, we fit together perfectly. My buddy Austin is a firefighter, so if I put on one of their fire suits and stand there with Maisel, that’s my costume. I don’t even have to dress her up. Or, she can be one of the 101 Dalmatians. I know Brytnee has done it once or twice but I’m not the guy who dresses his dog up.”