What Kind of Animal Kid Were You?

Alison Syrett | March 4, 2016

“Sometimes I bark and it sounds real, so don’t be scared.”

These are actual, uttered-in-earnest words I said throughout childhood, often after volunteering — as always — to play the Labrador in a game of house. Or while using the Scottie figurine in Monopoly. Or on a Wednesday. To a stranger.

It’s because I was a dog girl. If you were, too, that statement needs no further explanation. You’ve been there with your battered copy of the Kennel Club’s official guidelines in one hand and an anatomically misleading Puppy Surprise in the other. No? Then set down the gavel, Judge Judy, take off your robe (unless it’s Givenchy), and ask yourself this: If not of the canine clan, then what kind of animal kid were you? Deep down, your 8-year-old self has the answer.

1. Pooch Princess (Dog Girl.)

Nothing thrilled you quite like identifying a dog breed correctly, especially with a nonchalant, insider baseball nickname, like “Rottie” or “Min Pin.” Captivated by the idea that there is such a diverse array of canines out there, you imagined each to have its own personality — not unlike in the movie Oliver & Company. Actually, exactly like the movie Oliver & Company, which you owned on VHS and alternated with All Dogs Go To Heaven every weekend.

2. The Amazing Horse Girl

Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, The Pie — second string super heroes or noble, equine legends? If you choose the latter, chances are you spent recess reading Marguerite Henry books in the library, trying to copy the illustrations in your composition pad. Where most of your friends filled their extracurricular time with soccer and ballet, you would electively shovel manure at the local stables to get a discount on riding lessons. If someone referenced the brand “Breyer,” you were the only warm blooded kid in the room who didn’t immediately think of ice cream.

And you didn’t run. You cantered.

3. Polly Pegasus

You have lot in common with The Amazing Horse Girl — in fact, you two were probably bunkered down inside the library after lunch together for most of grade school. But while she was in one corner absorbed in The Black Stallion, you could be found plowing through the fantastical works of Tamora Pierce, J.K Rowling and C.S. Lewis. In other words: Your interest in fillies and colts began and ended with horns or wings or (preferably) both.

4. Whale Watcher

Let me guess: You wanted to be a marine biologist when you grew up, right? Although not one hundred percent certain on this job’s specifics, you imagined it as a high seas adventure in which you’d get to swim around with majestic water mammals and decipher their cryptic modes of communication. In the meantime, you had a “Songs Of The Humpback Whale” cassette from the local mall’s “nature store” to study from — your second favorite form of audio entertainment after Michael Jackson’s title track from Free Willy.

5. Fish Kid

Not to be confused with Whale Watcher! You were a strictly gill-only gal, with a regular rotation of small aquatic creatures as pets. Unlike most other animals — too big, too loud, too unpredictable — your fine finned friends felt safe and reassuring in their quiet glass container. You cycled through a lot of these little guys growing up, and always said a few poignant words about each before sending him or her to that big toilet bowl in the sky. A moment of silence, please, for Goldie I, II, and IV. (No, you don’t have a reason for skipping III.)

6. Captain Dino

Did you have your own fossil making kit? Um, was T.Rex from the Jurassic era? When you weren’t busy casting fake bones in plaster or daring your friends to eat amber bug candy, you fantasized about how much better this world would be with giant bird-lizards.

7. The Lion Queen

Let’s also add elephants, zebras and monkeys to this list. Basically, if an animal hit the same restaurants as Simba and Rafiki then your attention was held. You campaigned real hard to turn every family vacation into a safari, but had to settle for a subscription to National Geographic Kids magazine instead. On your birthdays, you always asked for one of those WWF endangered species adoption kits.

8. Littlest Miss Pet Shop

Gerbils, rabbits, chinchillas — your favorite kind of animal was cute, furry and kept in a cage. You read a lot of books that involved rodents wearing people clothes — Angelina Ballerina, Little Critter, Miffy the Rabbit — and always felt slightly deflated when your fluffy charge did not deliver the same level of human sophistication.

9. The OG Doctor Dolittle 

You haven’t just seen one thing on this list that sounds familiar, you’ve found four (okay, like, six) things. Your interest cycled through the better part of the world’s fauna before leaving your parents’ house for good, a vast collection of creature memorabilia with it. You haven’t got a lot of critter figurines and nature kits at home these days, but you do own a pair of Charlotte Olympia cat flats and the Loewe elephant bag.

Sounds like natural selection to me.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; creative direction by Emily Zirimis. 


  • Yes I went to PALEONTOLOGY camp as a child. It was very cool but also as dorky as it sounds.

    • Alison Syrett

      We are kindred spirits, Alyssa. I went to “Gifted Camp” as a kid, and loved every nerdy minute of it.

  • I think I was 9 lol. My family always had a dog, but I loved all animals. Not much has changed now.

  • I was a bear and tiger kid oh my! =P

  • Amelia Diamond

    Horse girl, obviously. Every portion of my room was covered. Every shirt had a horse on it. I drew in those comp notebooks, read those horse books (Saddle Club!) and cantered like a total weirdo in public — I did not run. Alison nailed my description, and that is terrifying.

    • Alison Syrett

      Amelia, my little brother had one of those ride-able toy horses on springs that I was sooo past the weight limit to use, but I’d still secretly climb on it, lean way forward with my butt up and bounce really fast like I was jockey. I may or may not have done this while wearing a velvet riding helmet and holding a fly swatter like a crop.

  • Amélie

    I was unicorn girl, which basically meant I’d run with a finger on my forehead while singing “UNICORN, UNICORN I’M A UNICORN”. Two of us did that in pre-school. We kind of secretly despised the other kinds for not sharing are super finger powers.

    • Alison Syrett

      I’ve definitely done that sometime in the last six months.

  • Aydan

    Omg I was such a Polly Pegasus!! Tamora Pierce was also soooo my jam!! I loved all of her books!!

    • Alison Syrett

      Okay, Aydan, VERY IMPORTANT question: Which series was the best? “Song of the Lioness,” no?

      • Shevaun

        I loved the “Protector the Small” series because I most closely identified with Kel. She was a badass, but a quiet one. Plus she loved animals and could communicate with them! The winner imo.

      • Aydan

        Yes!! That was my ultimate — Kel’s series was my second fave — she was always such a tough cookie!!

        • Alison Syrett

          Protector of the Small was my (very, very close) second favorite, too! Really you can’t go wrong with either.

  • Lísa Attensperger

    Horse girl all the way! My friend an I used to play actual horses ourselves the garden, outside, in front of other people, when we were not busy braiding our My Little Ponys hair and having talent contest on their behalf.

  • Living Paula Blog

    Definitely the Lion Queen!! Roar!!!

    Paula- http://www.livingpaula.com

  • littlest lemon

    I was definitely the Dragon Girl and it… hasn’t changed at all. I still paint dragons. Here’s a quick one.

  • A Bambi Babe. Never got over his mother’s death but loved the many adventures (I am talking the books)

  • BK

    why is there no cow option

  • giftofthefab

    Guinea Pigs. Although cats would follow me around we could never have one on account of my sister’s stupid asthma. I can make the same little Guinea Pig sound (creepy now?) and when I came back from church camp one summer they ran half way across the yard to greet me. “The Wiggins” were a big part of my childhood and teen years. #nodateforprom

  • claire scott

    Once a dog girl, always a dog girl.


  • Bethany

    Tigers, cats and dolphins! ???

  • Lee

    Honestly, where did we pull that Marine Biologist shit from? Why did kids all know that title, but nobody really knows what it is?

  • Oh, yes, I was the horsey kid, and that description is right on target. I still have many of my Breyer model horses (and have NO IDEA what to do with them, aside from scatter them decoratively around the apartment), some of them hand-painted into more fantastical coat patterns than they came out of the box with. And a few with less than 4 legs. Those legs are delicate. Ah Marguerite Henry. Misty of Chincoteague was cool, especially since I lived in Virginia and was able to go see a Pony Penning, but my favorite was King of the Wind.

  • HAHA oh god, I am a Dr. Dolittle because all of these were way too accurate.

    One time when I was like four, I got hella into the Lion King while it was playing and I pretended I was Simba being king of Pride Rock so I climbed the back of the couch on all fours and fell off the end, slicing my head open (right down where a middle hair part should go) on the corner of a desk on the way down. I refused to get stitches after learning that you could see my skull, and made my parents patch the gash up with my Bandaids!! I didn’t realise the error of my ways until a week later when it was time to take them all off and I think ripping them out of my hair hurt worse than the initial injury.

  • liliana

    i was a CAT girl! to the point when i thought i am a cat and i was walking around on all fours and i’ve refused to say a word other than “meow”. i was drawing cats. i had a cat. i wanted to marry my cat. everything in my closet had to have at least one cat on it. my favourite movie was “lion king” of course. i had only cat toys. i am adult now or old cat lady more like and i still have only cat and cats are on all my cups and i still would rather be cat than anything and anyone else. cats aren’t just animals, they are lifestyle.