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Several Sundays ago, while my puppy Roosevelt and I were on our way to Home Depot, I received one of the most amusing emails of my life. Mind you, as a writer, I receive a lot of interesting emails, but this one was pure gold. It was an invitation for Roosevelt and me to attend a dog influencer screening for a new movie called The Art of Racing the Rain, which stars Milo Ventimiglia and Amanda Seyfried.

With 68 Instagram followers, I’d hardly call Ro a dog influencer (I guess I have written several articles about him), but I know an entertaining opportunity when I see one. Obviously, I RSVP’d yes. But despite the hilarious stories I’d surely gain from the experience, I couldn’t help but feel like it was going to be extremely stressful to go to a movie with my 9-month-old pup. 

When the time came, I packed my tote with treats, doggie bags and toys and hoped the run we’d gone on that morning would keep him mellow in the theater. (He’s not just a puppy, he’s a Brittany. Little dude has boundless energy.)

Off we went to the Westwood iPic, a movie theater that has reclining leather seats as well as in-theater meal and beverage service. Quite an upscale place for a screening with a bunch of pooches. Upon arrival, Roosevelt and I waited in line for the JustFoodForDogs step and repeat. Yes, a step and repeat for dogs. We both posed and I learned Ro is definitely the more photogenic of the two of us.

Lex goodman and dog roosevelt on dog red carpet. seriously1
PureWow

Then, into the theater we went, where there were JustFoodForDogs swag bags waiting for the dogs on each seat. Miraculously, all of the other dogs seemed extremely chill about their newfound fame and merely lounged around. Ro had other plans. See his little butt turned the opposite direction of all the good boys in the upper right hand of the photo below?

dogs in a smovie screening
Vivien Best

Yep. He was eager to play with all the doggos around him, just as expected. He did, however, behave when Seyfried took the stage to thank us for joining and talk about the making of the film. As she walked out, she stopped to pet Roosevelt and called him “too cute.” I was too embarrassed to snap a photo of their meet-cute but I did immediately text my husband about it.  

Soon the movie began. In case you’re unfamiliar, the film is made by the same studio as canine classic Marley and Me. In addition to Ventimiglia and Seyfried, it stars a very cute golden retriever. The movie was everything I wanted. It was happy, it was sad, the dog served as the narrator and there was an unexpected twist that left everyone in tears. 

I, for one, didn’t indulge in as many waterworks as expected because I was preoccupied with Ro’s playful little barks and his frustration that I wasn’t giving him popcorn. Luckily, the other dog parents didn’t paw-shame me, but I did feel the need to step out midway through and take him on a walk to burn some energy. My gut had served me well. Going to the movies with a puppy is about as relaxing as sitting in bumper-to-bumper downhill traffic while driving a stick shift.

Dog Roosevelt Goodman in movie theater
Lex Goodman

Of course, I missed the major plot twist while we were gone, and spent the rest of the movie feeding him treats to keep him quiet. All in all, it was an experience we won’t soon forget and one that (as fun as it was) I probably won’t try again until he’s much older or zenned out on CBD. Regardless, it was a genius marketing play by the movie, JustFoodForDogs and WeRateDogs.com. And the film? We totally give it two paws up. Who doesn’t love affable golden retrievers and Milo Ventimiglia? 

The Art of Racing the Rain hits theaters this Friday, August 9. I’m sorry to say that dogs are not allowed in most theaters, which is probably for the best. 

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