Confessions of a non-dog owner and wannabe social anthropologist
Confession time: I co-founded a dog wellness company and I don’t have a dog.
Before you go throwing your pebbles of kibble at me (we’ll talk about your dog food choices later), hear me out for a second. It’s not that I’m never going to get one or that I don’t want one at all - I just didn’t grow up with the concept of having a dog as a pet. Add that to the list of things I can blame on having immigrant parents.
Dogs? Sorry, immigrant parents.
Invited to a sleepover? Sorry, immigrant parents
Turkey trot on Thanksgiving? Nope, this one I won’t blame on immigrant parents. I just think it’s absurd.
But seriously, none of my extended family members had dogs as pets, and I have a mother who, to this day, won’t allow a dog into the house. If this wasn’t already a judgment free zone, can we make it one now? Pretty please? Because here’s another confession: I was actually afraid of dogs for most of my life.
For most of my life the barking, jumping and licking really scared me. I didn’t read it as a form of play or protection. It read more so as … yikes, they’re coming for me. That’s not to say I didn’t meet dogs I loved along the way, but they tended to be mellow, gentle and generally less energetic.
But that all changed when I got to know Katie. And not because her dog George is a whopping 14 pounds (yes, George, I believe you’re ferocious and would always choose you to protect me), but because she exposed me to the multifaceted role George plays in her life and his ability to bring out nuanced parts of who she is. On so many levels, getting to know her dog George allowed me to get to know her on new dimensions.
Katie’s our animal lover, dog whisperer and product mastermind. She understands what it means to be an urban dog mom and is maniacal about building products that solve for your and your dogs’ wellness needs.
But I’m different, which is why Katie and I chose to work together. Katie would describe me as a social anthropologist, which you can partially blame on my liberal arts education. I’m fascinated by why we live the way that we do. I love digging into the relationship between our cultural experiences and our values and, in turn, how they influence our behavior. And ultimately, I’m absorbed by translating all of this into how we create meaning in our lives.
And that’s where we come back to our dogs. We live in transient and uncertain times. More often than not, our life feels scattered and we try to patch it with self-care, skin-care, eliminating things that don’t spark joy...the list goes on. Our dogs though inherently spark joy. They ground us. They’re a form of self-expression. They’re a way we create meaning in our lives. The decisions we make about and around them reveal who we are as individuals and who we are as a society.
Katie was my first real dose of that search for meaning through her relationship with George, and I’m embarrassed that it took me so long to get on board, but it’s time to catch up. So that’s what I’m here for: story-telling, cultural musings and trying to understand the ‘why’ behind what we do and how we raise our dogs (and ultimately ourselves) in a city. I’ll have hints of nerdiness and history and societal rumination, but I promise I’ll make it fun.