let me tell you about my pet

Lyric Lewis’s Dog Is a Paleontologist

Photo-Illustration: Preeti Kinha; Photos: Getty Images/Lyric Lewis

Lyric Lewis is a comedian and actress. She can be seen on the FX series Baskets, and she plays teacher Stef Duncan on the newly uncanceled NBC series A.P. Bio. Can she tell you about her dog, Dr. Alan Grant?  

On how she and Dr. Alan found each other:

I’ve had Dr. Alan now since 2016. I was really into tiny, hypoallergenic dogs — I was like, Oh, I want a little nugget who would feel okay in an apartment. I wanted a companion. So I was at the nail salon, and this weird woman — weird not in a bad way, just very eccentric — was selling her CDs (she was an opera singer) and she had a plastic pouch as her purse. On the face of the purse was a picture of a bichon. I was like, Oh, that’s so cute. I love your bag. I’ve always wanted a Maltese or a bichon or, like, a little toy poodle — my mother had a little toy poodle who I grew up with, yadda yadda yadda. And she was like, Well, I have three.

She said she knew a husband and wife in Burbank whose dog had a litter, and she was like, They’re a great couple, they’re fine, they have kids, I got my puppies from her, and you can check it out for yourself! And I was like, Great — a little bit of an aggressive way to present the information, but I’m open to this.

So I called this woman. I was also looking at shelters, I was looking online, I was interviewing, having people do home checks — like, everything. So this was another avenue. Long story short, I went there and Alan had two sisters and I think a brother, but the brother had already been adopted. Alan was the littlest one of the litter and they were nipping at him, and he was hiding in a corner. I felt like I had to get him. I put him on my chest and he slid in my shirt, and it was so sweet. After that I was like, Dr. Grant, you are mine. And that was it.

On naming him Dr. Alan Grant:

Basically, I’m just a huge Jurassic Park fan. Usually just the first one — I enjoy the others, but the first one is my jam. So it was either going to be Dr. Alan Grant or Dr. Ian Malcolm. But something about his personality let me know that he doesn’t mind kids but that he could do without them. There were just things where it was like, Oh, you’re a Dr. Grant. You’d be surprised how many people, like — like my grandmother looked me dead in my face and was like, He’s no doctor! And I was like, Of course not, he’s a dog; it’s just a fun name. But she was, like, very upset: “He’s not a doctor. Everyone stop acknowledging this!” But at day care he does respond to “Paging Dr. Alan.”

On Dr. Alan’s personality:

It’s so interesting. I feel like he’s an old man in a dog’s body. He’s always thinking and watching; he’s very chill. He likes to go to day care, but he only likes to play for five or 10 minutes and then he’s done. And he’s not a big cuddler. He likes to lie out among everybody, and he likes to hang out in the closet or in corners or under the couch.

He loves to go outside, but specifically he loves to go to the garage, to go to the car, to go somewhere. Like, he likes to go out. I’ll go to take him out for a walk and he’ll beeline to the garage to my car, and he’ll look at the car and look at me and look at the car, and I’m like … You wanna go somewhere? Where do you think you’re going?

On Dr. Alan’s eating habits: 

He’s an extremely picky eater, which is probably my fault. Like, most of his food he likes warmed up. And I’m like — Alan, stop. But he loves it warmed up. And he loves avocado.

On Dr. Alan’s favorite pastimes: 

We have a pretty good park not too far from us, and I like to take him there. He loves to run and sprint, but he also just loves to smell. I guess it’s like most dogs, but it’s so interesting just to watch him take his time and just graze in the grass, lie in some, smell some. He’s definitely more curious in the park, rather than trying to play.

I also like to take him to the Starbucks drive-thru to get a Puppuccino because when he sees the cup he knows what it is and he gets so excited. Maybe that’s why he likes the car — he’s like, We’re going to Starbucks? Great. 

On the time Dr. Alan accidentally got high:

As much fancy food as Dr. Alan eats, he’ll still go out and rush to put things in his mouth. But I had a trainer tell me that, like, a dog’s mouth is like our hand, and they like to feel with it, and you can let him feel but just make sure he doesn’t swallow anything. So I was like, Okay, I’ll let you feel … with your mouth?

So once when he was a puppy, we went on a walk, and when we got inside he just, like, fell directly over. And I was like — Oh my God! It was the scariest thing. He couldn’t hold himself up on his paws. So I rushed him to the vet and got him checked out, and after checking him out the vet slinked out with sheer judgment from her eyes and face and was like, “He has ingested … a lot of THC. He’s really high.”

And I was like, “Oh my God, well, I didn’t give it to him!” But you could still see the judgment. But because it’s California, they said he probably ate what I thought was a bushel of dry grass but what was really a nugget of weed. So she said he just had to ride it out. But it was so sad because he was so little, and you could tell he didn’t know what was happening. He kept just trying to look me in my eyes, like, Mom? And I was just like, Hey, buddy, you gotta ride it out. We’ve all been there, when we’ve had too much of an edible or something. And it’s like, Oh man, I just have to wait till tomorrow. But I felt so bad because I was like, I know what you feel like.

On her favorite thing about him: 

He’s my little best friend. Just his presence is awesome. I feel like he’s just a little mama’s boy. He’s very attentive to me and alert, and if I’m upset or anything, he knows. He’s just … as picky as he is, it’s amazing to just know that he’s there in the deepest part of the closet somewhere ’cause he can’t be bothered.

Lyric Lewis’s Dog Is a Paleontologist