The Sappy Column: The Breiland Breed

Chris and Whitney Breiland — the men’s Resident Director at OKWU and his lovely wife — present a typical predicament for couples everywhere. Are pets a good idea for couples? That is the question. However, for Chris and Whitney, the legend of their love for their pets (and each other) is undeniable – especially coming from Ashleigh Johnson, my source and their nominator.

My conversation with Ashleigh went something like this:

Ashleigh: “You need to talk to Whitney and Chris for your Sappy column.”

Sappy: “Oh, about their relationship?”

Ashleigh: “Yes. With their dogs.”

So, predictably, I did exactly so and learned some very comical stories about people, pets, and relationships along the way.

To give you, my loyal audience, a share in my new knowledge gained specifically from Whitney Breiland herself, I present to you a testimony of true love from a couple who truly loves their dogs – and some tips I filtered out just for you!


1. Plan ahead as a couple. Talk about making future decisions – such as choosing a dog.


The Breilands and Scout

“We were both intrigued by the Italian Greyhound.  It met many of our requirements: (1) Under 15 pounds- due to our apartment lease, (2) Low shedding- due to Chris’ neurotic cleaning habits, and (3) Affectionate- due to me having a heart.”


2. Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best. Communicate along the way.


Lazy Lola


“Training puppies can be difficult.  Unfortunately for us, training Lola was next to impossible.”


3. Be careful with who gets the better treatment.


Spoiled Lola


“Chris had no idea what he was getting into with this little twelve-pound diva.  Before too long, I was making homemade organic dog food for Lola (because it’s better for her, duh!) and Chris began to complain that Lola was eating better than he was!”


4. Understand that dogs have favorites just like people (unfortunately).


Chris is the favorite!


“For quite some time, despite me being the person who babied Lola, her favorite person was Chris. One thing changed all of that though…



5. Be open to new pet members.


Chris and Scout at play.


“Chris said that he would really enjoy getting a dog that he could train to hunt with, particularly for duck season (and that he would really like to name the new puppy Scout, after one of his favorite literary characters from To Kill a Mockingbird).”


6. But be ready for anything


Scout overwhelming Whitney.


“Bringing Scout home was a totally different experience from Lola. Scout’s training was much different than Lola’s, as well.  Scout waits patiently for commands and aims to please.”


7. I mean it: Be ready for anything.


The dogs.



(In summary: )

*Scout likes to clean up the laundry that is left behind – and run all over the house with it.

*Lola likes to escape and refuse to be caught (unless Whitney shows up, then she goes willingly).

*Scout also likes baby bunnies… a little too much.


8. Anticipate a little jealousy.


Dogs playing with stick.


“Scout has been with us for several months now and we still joke that when Scout is outside, Lola is saying, ‘Is she leaving for good?'”


9. Make sure to cherish bonding time –for your pets but especially for each other.


The cute couple - Chris and Whitney


“We take the pups for a nightly walk and it is one of our favorite rituals- we spend time together and dissect our days.”


10. But, ultimately, it’s good to be flexible when needed.


Lola and Chris


“The days of cuddling together on the couch during a flick are on hold for now… At this point, we have adjusted to movie nights including battle stations [with the dogs].”


In doing some external research, it’s been proven how very beneficial a pet can be in a relationship.


  • When couples have pets before children, the couples have “greater odds of lasting longer.”



  • “Couples who own a cat or dog have closer relationships, are more satisfied in marriage and respond better to stress than couples that do not.”



  • ” Pets can help to reduce stress between spouses, especially when they are going through a difficult time.”



  • ”The pet can be a source of entertainment and increased fun in the home.”



It’s no wonder why Whitney and Chris love their pets so much. Working as a team with their pets helps them grow and love each other even more. They get to enjoy less stress, comical entertainment, and ultimately a more satisfying marriage.

“Chris and I were joking and saying, ‘Are the kids ever going to get along?’  We never thought we would be those people who treat their dogs like children.” And yet look at them now!


Leave a Reply