Bourgeois with her childhood dog, Polly.

From the Editor: Doggone It

Photo by Jordan Hefler

How crazy are you? I’ll go first.

I am crazy enough to believe that my beloved childhood Labrador retriever was reincarnated and returned to me nine years ago. Let me explain.

I was studying abroad in the beautiful seaside town of Brighton, England, when I was startled awake one night. October 26. I’ll never forget.

Don’t ask me how, but I immediately knew why I had suddenly been jolted into consciousness. My dog Polly had passed away.

I had been preparing for this day for years. I remember many tearful nights when I would hold onto her golden coat and wish that things would be different, that time would pass more slowly, and that we would have more of it.

She was 15 when she crossed over the rainbow bridge, as they say. And I know that is a long life for any dog. But it still doesn’t feel long enough, even all these years later.

Polly and her sister, Molly.

Polly was special. I remember the day my parents surprised my sister and me with her. She had a pink satin bow around her neck, and she was perfect. As a 5-year-old, I could imagine no more important moment than when I got a dog. And my perceived significance of that day has left the memory burned in my mind forever.

Polly and I were inseparable for her 15 years here on Earth. Actually, we were more than inseparable. We were soul mates.

This is why it only makes sense that I would awaken in the middle of the night from across the world, immediately knowing that she was no longer with us.

To work past my grief, I started browsing adoption websites for dogs. And one day, Margaret popped up. A fluffy puppy of an unknown breed, I was immediately in love.

I had my mom and sister go to Companion Animal Alliance and meet her the next day, and I had digitally signed the paperwork adopting her less than a week later, as I was returning home to Baton Rouge in mere weeks.

But here’s the kicker. When I looked over her records, her birthdate was, you guessed it, October 26.

I renamed her Genevieve in a nod to my favorite children’s book, Madeline. And, I can’t explain it, but upon meeting her in the Baton Rouge airport, I knew she was Polly.

They’re the same dog, I swear it. And if you don’t believe me, well, I don’t think we would get along anyway.

My own delusions aside, I do believe that there is some level of crazy involved in being a pet parent—or a good one, anyway.

We welcome these animals into our homes not knowing what to expect. And what they give us is something no toy, treat or belly rub could ever repay: a whole new perspective of the world around us.

This month, we’re diving into those new perspectives as we get a glimpse into the homes of six pet-loving local design professionals. From a trio of French bulldogs to two dachshund sisters to some show-stopping cats, these creatives don’t just live with their pets, they design for them. And if you ask me, that’s the way it should be.

We are granted such a mercifully short amount of time with these animals that become so much a part of ourselves. Let them sit on the couch. Let them ride in the front seat. Let them sleep in the bed. They deserve it.