Episode 4 – Welcome to the Pet Cult

14 Sep 2018 | Written by Freshpet
Private dog parks. Doggy daycare. Puppy hiking clubs. In Episode 4, our hosts shine a light on all of the various parks and clubs – from the elite to the wacky – that many pet parents can’t seem to resist.  

Episode Transcript

... think that when your dog's barking at the door, and you yell at them to stop, that your dog just thinks that you're both just yelling at the door together.

Welcome to Pet Parents Oversharing, brought to you buy Freshpet.



Hey everyone. Welcome to Pet Parents, Oversharing. I'm Andrea Lynn Shapiro.

I'm Kaity Reagle. This is where pet parents stop being polite and start getting real.

Start getting real. Speaking of that, you know what's real food?

Tell me.


Oh, hey.

They're the ones that are making this all possible, and we thank them. We give them a nice bow-wow, Freshpets.


Chick-a-wow, and meow. Well, this week, what I was hoping that we could talk about because it's really on the top of my noggin, it's culty clubs. Some pet parents are so passionate. We think we go above and beyond, but some people go to Bed Bath and Beyond. You know what I mean?

I sure do. They pick up the whole thing.

They go. They take everything. They go into the beyond. You know what I mean? We're talking about daycare. We're talking about private parks, salons, walking clubs and beyond. Et cetera. Have you ever been a member of any pet club? Any club that would ever have you as a member?

Well, okay. The short answer is yes and no.


So Floof, we've been pretty lucky. Jared works a lot of nights, or he works at home a little bit, because he does freelance work, so it's been very rare that we've had to have someone take him on a walk during the day. We have started thinking about trying daycare just to get him out there, meeting more dogs. There's a place in our neighborhood, Disco Paws. We love them. They do it.

I love Disco Paws.

They're so cute. They do his grooming, and I follow their Instagram. They always have ... They post pictures of their dogs during the day and sometimes if I'm having a bad day at work, I'm like, I'm just going to go see what they're up to. But they do cute stuff, and I feel like that's a nice little community. My office used to allow dogs, or my job did. We switched offices and the new building doesn't. But we start a little group discussion. We call it, our personal dog park, and share pictures of our dogs, all day. That brings me joy too. I think there's something special about when you get a pet. I'm still as antisocial as ever, but I feel like it instantly connects you to people. You're like, let me see pictures of your dog. We're both dog owners. Let's talk about it.

Yeah, I think there's-

... dog parents.

Dog parents. Let's talk about it. I think there's unofficial ways that you can club it up, and of course more official ways. You and I are in a tax bracket where we mostly have to go the unofficial route, I feel like.

Yeah. I don't think anyone's going to be inviting us to a dog country club anytime soon.

No. I'm sure they exist.

Or a cat country club. Are there cat country clubs?

Not that I know of, although I know you and I were discussing this. I did once, of course the person that brought this to my attention was my cat obsessed fiance, Jonas. He found a video that went viral of a UK based IKEA, and it participated in this night where, I'm assuming they probably found the participants online, or through a mailing campaign. What am I saying? Of course, they probably found them online. People brought their cats to the IKEA after it shut down at night, and let them run crazy, and let them just go crazy.

Oh my gosh.

It gave me joy and anxiety all at the same time because I know how easily my cat can get stuck between the couch and the radiator, so I am just assuming what it would have been like, because there's so many crevices to get lost in. Those are drop ceilings in IKEA.

I'm sure they have people looking out, and they have little kids running around there all the time. There must be like toddler proof, so they're cat proof.

Do you think though, if the cat goes to have that night, they do have to get into a fight with their mate?

Obviously that's what happens when you go to IKEA. I would hate to be the one shopping at 08:00 the next morning though. I'd be like, why am I dead now?

Yeah. I guess IKEA is staunchly like, all right, if you want to shop here, you better not be allergic to cats, otherwise you can go screw off.

You know what? With enough notice, I don't mind.

But I do know of some clubs, some dog parks. I don't know this story, but didn't you find a story about one in particular in New York City?


Read it to me. I'm read for storytime.

Let me tell you the tale of DOOT.

Of what?





Dog owners of Tribeca.


God bless their souls.

God bless their souls.

Apparently, almost 10 years ago, so it's been a minute, they decided that they wanted their dog park to be a little bit more exclusive, a little bit more upscale, so they just popped a lock on it. Yeah, go ahead.

Did the lock have a combination on it?

Yeah. The people in charge, they said you can PayPal them $120 bucks a year, and then they give you the code, and they change the code every few months.


And they have ... What does it say here. 22 rules.

22? There are only ten commandments.

There she is. The best part about this, the whole time, the city still owned this park. This is a public dog park.

Right. This is as if somebody took a public pool.

And was like, and you're mine now.

They're like, this is only for the ... They turn into a Vegas pool party all of a sudden. Bottle service, table service. All of sudden, little Johns there.

Kids aren't allowed.

Kids aren't allowed?

Mm-mm (negative).

I'm sorry. Wait. Are we talking about the Vegas pool party? Because obviously they shouldn't be allowed.

A park's spokesman gave out this statement. Dog runs are maintained through barknerships between NYC parks and community groups. Tell me about those barknerships, Sam.


I am a city employee in charge of barknerships. These DOOTS, or DOOTers as I call them are like, here's a quote. We were quite happy not having parks involved all these years. I bet you were, lady. Like obviously you were. That was the whole point. It's the people who aren't able to get into the park that have a problem. Also, at a certain point wouldn't you like ... Wouldn't you just be like, oh, my bad, and then back off and just feel lucky that you're not going to get arrested and criminal charges pressed?

Yeah, it's not like you have an LLC. It's not like you had anything to back you. And also, where did that money go? Who has that money? What did they use it on? Did they pay someone to cleanup?

Yeah. Well, that's a great question. This other article estimated, they say, raked in. Just so, oh, let's get riled.

They pawed in.

They raked in $83,000 in membership dues.


And they claim that it was for ... They claimed the doggy dough ... I love it.

How about doggy dough not?

The doggy dough was for upkeep. I guess it looks like they provided poop bags, and had it pressure washed regularly. They also said it was for insurance. But insurance, it was the city.

Can we talk about a little dog park awkwardness, either with us personally or also with just pets in general? For instance, I used to sometimes dog sit a terrier named Zora, and when she would go to the park, she would steal all the balls and dig a hole and put them in there.


Right. She was such a menace. People would give me the evil eye. But have you ever encountered any dog park awkwardness, any interactions? Like one of them, when people's leases get caught up with each other, when it gets all twisted with each other.

That's how they met in 101 Dalmatians.

Oh, that's a meet cute, right there.

That is a meet cute. With me it's like, get away from me. Because if I'm walking him, I'm not like dressed. I think it would have been different if he were the kind of dog who's like, I love going on walks. I love meeting things. I'd be like, okay, I'll prep for a long walk and we'll go. It's going to be a social thing. He's like, business complete. Return me to pod.

So I can be cryogenically frozen and stay Floof forever.

Exactly. Sometimes it's tough because people want to have intense conversations, or ask you personal questions about getting your pup. It's like, I don't know. Someone asked me ... I did get a little unsolicited advice a few weeks ago. It was right before ... Not this haircut, but the haircut before. We had an appointment for that day, and I took him out for his morning walk and he had little Emo banks, all the way down over his eyes. This woman was, I'm sure trying to be nice. She was like, oh, he's so cute. Do you cut his hair, ever? She looked at me like, maybe it didn't occur to this nice young woman to cut this dog's hair, and she'll just like grow it forever.

We met some cute dogs. I'm trying to be better about, whenever we do see dogs, I'm like, hey, let's connect a little bit.


Because there is that community. We met a couple dogs outside before. They're sisters. They look like two little fluffy clouds. Guess who's calling them a menage a trois? Because they both came up and sniffed each other's snoots, all three of them together at the same time.

Oh, like their noses all together?


Oh my God. That should be like a dog calendar picture right there.

But one of their names was Nala, and the other one's name was not Simba. I don't know what the name was. I just remember being like, why isn't it Simba?

Right. Or, if I were them, just slinging unsolicited advice to them because they're totally listening, one should have been called Simba and the other one should have been called Hamlet because obviously the Lion King is loosely based off of Hamlet. I'm pushing my glasses up right now, that I don't have actually. That would have been a better name.

But then wouldn't you have to call one dog both names, because they're really the same character?

Whoa. You're blowing my mind right now. This time-space continuum.

Let me ask you this.

For sure.

I think is really fun when you have people over, Floof is just like, I get all the attention. Hit me with the pets. Do your cats hide? I know a lot of cats are like nervous. Are they hiders or are they like ...

... hide. I know a lot of cats are like, nervous. Are they hiders or are they like gonna see what's up?

Phoebe hides. Only on a few occasions has she really approached a person. One of them was the woman who's doing my hair and makeup for my wedding, because she just sensed, she rescues bunnies, this woman. And so she's wonderful. So she just knew right away that she was good people.

Just gentle animal vibes.

But, from all men, she generally hides.


Right. I was like, "I understand, girl." Candy is just like, let me show you all my acrobatics. And actually, we had some friends over recently, and she was scaling the side of the pantry thing that we have. And they were like, "Should we be worried?"

I'm like, "No, she does this like all the time."

And in her head, she's probably in the middle of like, "I will climb Everest today."

I know.

And you're like, "Yeah, it's fine."

And then they're like, "All right."

And then they were like, "She's going to jump." I'm like, "Oh, yeah, yeah, she'll be fine. She'll land." I'm like, "Watch."

Then when she lands she goes, "Meh." As if a little exclamation point to it.

Stick the landing.

She's friendly. She's very silly. She likes to get people's attention. So she like puts something in her mouth and then, I'm gonna try to recreate the sound she makes. She's like, he-heh. Like, she's a ghost cat.


That's literally the sound she makes. Jonas does it back to her. He'll be like, "Meow, meow."

So, we did that survey. This was one of my favorite things because I felt very seen by that survey.

I love it.

It was whose name are you more likely to remember? Choices are: A new person you met at a party. The name of the dog or cat at the same party. Both, you're pretty good at remembering names.

They didn't offer the option, which is the fourth one, which is neither, you're pretty bad at names, but you could describe the dog or cat perfectly and its demeanor.

That would be me.

If you need to go to the police and describe how adorable. . . .

But okay, I'm sure that partly it's because we reached out to the Freshpet community and they're already animals lovers. But only of the 901 people who responded, guess how many said, chose the person?

How many?



It was 1.55 percent. 14 people total. 641, over 70% said the name of the dog or cat. Then 250 are just pretty good at names. Show offs.

Yeah, I know, right? There's another one, too. The questions that we asked about the clubs and the communities, if they're a part of any. I'm quite surprised about these numbers is that over 20% take their dog, take their pupper, their pet baby to day care. Almost 24% are of a walking or hiking club. That sounds amazing. I think all those people are like in Colorado or Montana. I feel like that's where those exist you know what I mean?

Neither Floof nor I are going to be joining a hiking club.

I like that Floof is perfectly acclimated to being a city dog. You know what I mean? He's like, "This is my life. I am fully embracing it and I am just assimilating even more."

"None of these sounds bother me except for motorcycles."

Right, yes. Community dog run, which I'm assuming is probably public?

I think just a public park, yeah.

Over 23%. But actually, I'm really surprised about this. Private dog park, almost 48% of the people surveyed [crosstalk 00:15:57].

Those are [duders 00:15:58].

Those are [duders 00:16:00].

I'm thinking about trying a dog park for him.

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

But one, there's a couple that are, I think actually closer to where you live, so maybe we'll have a date.


That have like more, like an active area, where they have like a, I don't know, go through this little tunnel or go up and down this little ramp. I think he would like that kind of thing. 'Cause, you know, he doesn't like the toys, but I think he would like that.

People have told me before that like, 'cause I don't like it when someone's like rollerblading and they like have their dog with them and they're running. I'm like, "Did you ask the dog if they wanted to run with you while you're rollerblading the whole time?" Like, I don't think anyone asked the dog. Or, I think I told you last night, like, I was at Disney World and there's a security guard there with a security lab. First of all, you very rarely see a lab as a security dog, so I was like, "Oh my god, this is a special moment." I did ask him if I could pet him and he very assertly said no. And I was like, "Okay." My feelings were very hurt. And then you said last night when I told you that, you were like, "Well, at least you asked." Like, I bet kids just go up and like touch the dog all the time. [crosstalk 00:17:10] And he was like, "Oh, he's working." I'm like, "Yeah, but did you ask him if he wanted to work?"

Honestly, people come up to me and touch me when I'm working all the time, too. I work in an open office.

I don't wanna work, but I have to do it. He's gotta keep a roof over his kids' head back in Orlando.

Dog sweaters aren't free. Gotta put him to work.

But so, the Iron Dog. And I'm like, "All right." I mean, but, I think we need a series, like an American Ninja situation, do you know what I mean? Do you know American Ninja?


Like I think we need that for dogs. I guess that's the Westminster Dog Show, though, or the other agility shows that they have.

Oh, there is a place, actually, in Long Island City that I wanted to take him to. I forget the name of it, but they have like agility classes. It's like the same way would take your kid to like, gymnastics class.


Like, it's kind of a little bit like to exercise, but also to like have fun and like learn teamwork. And I think I wanna try that with him.

I would give it a shot. It might be money wasted, but, you know, 'cause he's Floof.

Wouldn't be the first time. Example, my pile of unused dog beds.

But, also at this place, this is the kicker, another service they offer is [pawlates 00:18:35].

You can't see my face right now, but it's. . . .

It's contorted, I would say.


I just want the makers of Pilates and yoga, I don't know, Buddha, or whomever it was to just come back and be like, "Dogs are gonna do it." I think they'd be okay with it, actually.

You're speechless.

I will say, one thing I've seen similar.


But doesn't make my face look like that.

Contort. Uh huh?

In my home state, they have a place [crosstalk 00:19:15].

North [Cacalacka 00:19:15].

North Carolina. There's a couple places where they have like dog yoga. But you do yoga with a dog.

Or the goat yoga. Do you know what I'm talking about?

I can imagine, but I have not heard about it.

Yeah, it's like on a farm, people go, and I think sometimes it's indoors, too, and people go and the goats will jump up on your back when you're like in downward dog.

That's so fun. Well, this one, I don't think it's quite that well-trained. You just like use them as like weights, almost.

It's like a Mommy and Me class.

Yeah. And one of the ones I read about, too, was cool because they were all rescues, so it was a way to like, one, get them a little socialization and exercise, and to kinda introduce them to people and maybe find the one.

I like that. Also, I've heard about, and you can do this, you can read to dogs.


There are shelters where you read to dogs. And I think it's that it makes the dogs that are new to the shelter more comfortable with different people speaking to them. But I'm like, I don't wanna just read, I wanna hold the dog also at the same time.

Should we send them recordings of this podcast? They could get used to our voices?

Now that we've talked a bit about places that you will go to be extroverted, let's talk about places that, things that we do to be introverted. Little at-home cults.

Don't get me started.

You know, I feel like a cult itself is me and my fiance at home with our cats and then just doing ridiculous like dances with them. We're their cult leaders, you know what I mean?

I know, well, it makes me think like, he doesn't want most people, but you know, when he's been home alone all day, just like seeing the walker for a little bit hearing stuff outside, like, I wanna be home with him.

Yeah, yeah. And, I mean, and sometimes I feel like we, of course I wanna be home with my pet. I wonder if you do this, you're like, you genuinely do, you're like, "Oh, I have to leave, guys. No dessert for me, or something, because I have to go home and like be, take Floof out." But also like, maybe you don't and you're just like, "You know what, I don't wanna do this song in karaoke with you right now because I have to go take care of another living being, so I'm so sorry. My hands are tied. I have to go."

Listen, if I'm already at karaoke, I'm for sure messy enough to do another duet.

You ever bring Floof with you to parties or to get togethers?

You know, I have a couple times when getting like, meals in the area, like, now that it's nice out we can sit outside.

Right, that is the nice thing about New York City. A lot of sidewalk cafes. So you can. . .


And they have like dog bowls at them sometimes or like . . . .

We've been lucky, everyone's been very kind about him.


We went to a friend's Thanksgiving and he was the hit.

Oh my goodness.

I know. Her name was Andrea, too. And she, the cat was there.

Where is she? I mean, and you brought Floof here and Floof's been a hit here.

Oh, yeah. I mean, he was great at work when I could bring him.


I've taken him home to North Carolina to meet his cousin and Uncle.


Atticus and Panda.

Panda? Oh, Panda's great name.

I know. That's a popular one, too.

Really? I've never heard of a dog named Panda.

Oh, yeah. I follow like three on Instagram.

I feel like Panda would also be a good name for a cat, too. Very possible.

Oh, that would be.

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Depending on the coloring, you know.

Or Koala. No, I've definitely gotten out of a ton of plans with Floof. The thing is, I think that I actually, before I had Floof, very much, I'm an introvert with social skills. Okay?


So I can do it, but I don't always want to.

I think you're similar to me in that we, I have a threshold.

Uh huh.

And then it's like, when I reach it, I'm like, I'm good. And a button goes off in me and I'm like, "I wanna go home and lay down with my cats now."

Totally. I need to get horizontal.

Yeah. I need to lay down. I process a lot of information. And this is how I feel sometimes about pets at parties. Like, during Thanksgiving actually, my stepsister, she'll kennel her dog because she just feels like it's too much stimuli for him.

Oh, yeah.

So it's just easier, and also he gets under everybody's feet and everything, and I think there's just a lot of people coming in and out of the house.

And you've got kids running around.


It's a lot of people.

Yeah. So I totally understood that, but I also was like, I went to Thanksgiving and I was like looking forward to seeing Ripley, you know what I mean?

Ah, another Ripley [crosstalk 00:23:56].

Yeah, no, but my friends were used to me canceling plans before I had Floof, and now they're like, "Oh, okay. Now it makes sense."

Before I had a Floof, and now they're like, "Oh, okay, now it makes sense, there's a kind of a reason." But I try to give people a heads up like if I'm going out, I'm like, "I can't stay too long, I've got to go get Floof."

I worry about dogs though when they're at events, because sometimes so much attention is being paid to them, you know what I mean, that they must be absorbing a lot, too. I just think you gotta watch out for your pet, too. They're not being overstimulated, oversocialized.

I know, and well he doesn't seem like he's into being in the center of things, and then last night, you were over talking to me, and I was facing you, you were facing me and he was like behind me on the bed, and no one was looking at him for a few minutes, and he did the paw thing, he was like, "Boop-boop, excuse me ladies, I believe there's something you've forgotten about?"

Speaking of Floof, since it always comes back to him, I know his Instagram is like on fleek...do we say that anymore? On fleek? Why not.

I think lit is what we would call it.

I think it's pretty lit. It's on fire.

Thank you. It's my pride and joy after the actual Floof.

Because I know for some people, the cult of personality of being a pet parent is getting to show them on social media, so Instagram, but also like dog events, for instance, dog weddings. Now I want to just tell you, I was doing some research about dog weddings and one of the...where was the part, I have to find it. Oh, there was as wikihow article, and it said on how to put together a dog wedding. Step by step instructions.

That's amazing. Did you hear about the one they did for corgis? They had a corgi wedding as like a pre royal wedding celebration and promotion or something like that.

Because the queen loves corgis.

Yeah, but it was in New York, and I wasn't invited.

Wait, you had to have an invitation? Was it at the...was it a D.O.O.T. event? It's funny you bring up corgis, corgis are probably one of my favorite dogs, because their bodies are so low to the ground and their ears are so big, and they have these cute little butts, and they always...do corgis kind of twerk like a little, because when their butts shake-

When you see their little...when they're a little bushy, it's like, "Ooh, who's she?"

Yeah, it's like look at this dog booty, but I love it. For instance, there's...you know people who are like, "Oh, I have this type of dog, let's all get together." You tagged me in that thing where it was like everyone-

It was like 300 golden retrievers all just hanging out being beautiful together.

But like there was a corgi meetup, and my heart nearly burst. And also I love the gradation of colors. There's the blond corgis, and then there's the ones with the darker fur. And I'm just like look at this, in harmony.

I've seen picture...is it the same one I'm thinking of when I've seen pictures they're at a beach, too. Which is even more precious, because there's the water and the sand.

You know something we talked a little bit about communities like...as you know he's not the most social out there pooch. But one thing that's been really fun is actually with his Instagram, following a bunch of other like shih tzus or shih tzu-types or cute dogs that like post, some that are even in our neighborhood that we just would never encounter. It's fun you like like each others stuff sometimes and do a little cute comment. It's nice to feel a little bit part of that community, and you're both trying to share something fun, and I think that makes me feel feelings.

Yeah, and I think that's such a...has such a bevy of information to it that we have to do a bonus episode specifically about pet's Instagrams, what do you think?


So many of my old clients have Instagrams for their pups. And actually, I used to take care of these two bulldogs, Russel and Buster, and they moved to Colorado recently-

To go be free in the mountains?

To go be free in the mountains. But they moved to Colorado and I miss them, but I follow them on Instagram, and I watch them run through open fields together and it is like so delightful, so it's a really nice way to connect, you know?

Yeah, you can always feel free to connect at @floofboii.

But so I was researching dog weddings, I've seen some dog weddings before...sorry, so I was reading the wikihow article. It says how to host a dog wedding. And the first line in it is, "Dog weddings used to mark the start of breeding relationships." It's like slow down, we're not getting to consummation station right this very minute.

My puppies!

I know, so it's like, so these dogs aren't born out of wedlock? Like, you know what I mean? It's ridiculous.

I'm sorry, I refuse to adopt a bastard puppy.

I know, exactly. But also what I thought was really adorable, and this is very in vogue, is dog maternity shoots, so after the dog wedding comes the dog maternity shoots. So there were specifically for some reason, each of the dogs that I found, Lilica and Fuse. Lilica was a photographer's dog in Brazil. She was pregnant, she was with child...with pildren? Po-wildren. And she was part dachshund as well as something else, and so was Fuse, she was also part dachshund, so I dunno, these dachshunds are not getting fixed-

Meant to be.

Meant to be. But they had lots of these adorable...you've seen maternity shoots before, right?

Oh yeah. On the Housewives.

Exactly, yes. But lots of you know leaning, and showing the belly, also lots of flower crowns, like they're going to Coachella.


I saw this twitter...somebody wrote this on twitter the other day, and it was like, "What do you think your dog calls you?" Or also somebody...I don't know if I had written it, because you know a joke falls in your lap and you're like, "It can't be that I wrote this." I must have absorbed it somewhere. And it was like, "Guess what guys, that butterfly you see has a tramp stamp of you tattooed on them."

Oh I did see one recently that was like, "Do you think that when your dog's barking at the door, and you yell at them to stop, that your dog just thinks that you're both just yelling at the door together?" I'm like I hope that he knows to stop barking, but that's also so cute.

Also apparently cats think that we are just bigger cats. That they think that we are also cats.

I think it's about time for us to say adieu.

Good bye, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night.

To you, to Floof, to Floof, and Floof, and Floof.


And they call her Candy Shapiro.

Honestly that little, "Doot-do-da-doot-doot-doo" is like how it sounds when he walks to me.

That's what dogs and cats totally...smaller dogs have the doo-da-doo and bigger dogs are like brn-ba-drn-brn-nr-nr-nump. On that note, as we end this song, which is this podcast. Every great song must come to an end, but I don't think this is the end for us. If you have enjoyed this podcast, which obviously you have because what are you monsters, come on. Freshpet monsters who love to eat that stuff up, am I right?


As always, we want to thank Freshpet who gave us this opportunity. Thank God that they have like the best food ever in the entire world.

Otherwise, this would have been awkward.

Otherwise, it would have been really awkward. Thank God my pets are like, "This stuff is...the shiz."

Fresh, fresh, fresh-fresh-fresh, fresh, fresh fresh-fresh.

Fresh, fresh, fresh. Pets, everybody. Fresh, fresh, fresh, fresh, fresh-fresh.



Oh, we woke Floof up. It has been such a pleasure, I'm sure we will talk to you soon, and, for now, bow-wow.

Bye, love you.


This podcast was made by Freshpet, real pet food made with all natural ingredients, steam cooked without preservatives, and ready to serve fresh from the fridge. To learn more, visit freshpet.com.

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