Tag Archives: dog people

Silhouette of a group of people to illustrate best conversation starter

World’s best conversation starter

We’re normally not party people. But when a dog facility we teach at had an Open House a couple of weeks ago, we went to meet people, talk training, and help out as we could. As the event proceeded, we realized we’d come up with the world’s best conversation starter: “What kind of dog do you have?”

Silhouette of a group of people to illustrate best conversation starter

It’s really an ideal way to start talking to people. You don’t have to worry about sensitive topics, it’s not politics, or religion. It’s also not controversial, but much more interesting than the weather. The only time it doesn’t work is if the person you’re talking to doesn’t have a dog. We didn’t have to worry about that during the Open House, but in other venues it may get you some funny looks. 

Facets of our lives

No matter what time of your life you’re in, either just starting out on the adult adventure, or happily retired, you can always talk about your dog. Everybody who has a dog has common interests. The price of dog food has gotten almost ridiculous. What groomer do you use? How do you like your veterinarian? Does your dog ever let you go to the bathroom alone? Do you play training games with your dog? Which treats does your dog like best? Do you let your dog sleep with you?

The possibilities are endless, because dogs are always interesting. Current dogs, past dogs, even what breeds you admire, even though you’d never want one. Our advice for chronically introverted people (like us) is to find the dog people at the party. You’ll soon be at the center of a lively discussion everyone enjoys.

Something in common

The vast majority of the people we spend time with, both personally and professionally, are dog people. Some of them we’ve been friends with for years. The only thing we had in common at the beginning was our love of dogs. In our training club, it’s taken years to find out if people have spouses, children, what they do for a living, where they live. 

Which got us thinking, there are all kinds of levels of friendship or intimacy. Our dog club friends aren’t necessarily the ones we’d call if we had an emergency like getting locked out of the house. But they’d be the first ones if we had car trouble at a dog show or trial. It’s like having a network for each aspect of your life. Always give people the benefit of the doubt. Start the conversation with “What kind of dog do you have?”

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What happens to the dogs of war

We remembered a poster from our childhood this week – “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” Very true for the dogs of war, too. 

Reality slapped us in the face with the image we’ve seen over and over on social media. It’s a picture of a man, holding his French Bulldog on his shoulder, sheltering in the Kyiv subway tunnel. It’s been a sad and sobering week for anyone paying attention to the news. 

We’re seeing this particular image because we have many connections to French Bulldog people. 

We’ve also seen posts from breeders in countries surrounding Ukraine offering housing and shelter to fellow breeders needing a place for them and their dogs. One Poodle breeder posted a photo of her property, waiting for any Ukrainian breeder who needs a place for their dogs. In addition to the worst of humanity, we’re also witnessing some of the best.

Members of the family

Thousands of civilians are fleeing Ukraine. Encouragingly, despite the huge traffic jams we’ve seen and backups at the borders, the news we’ve seen so far indicates that the countries accepting refugees are also welcoming their pets.

This conflict will be played out with witnesses around the world in real time. Vietnam may have been the first war televised in color. This one will be the one we all see on social media, as it happens, if we pay any attention at all. 

The pictures and videos we’ve seen run the gamut – shocking, heartbreaking, and encouraging. When every single person has the ability to broadcast to the world, it’s powerful. Especially so when the neighborhoods, the people, the families, look like they could be somewhere familiar. 

Close to home

Festival of Cultures Flag display

The community we live in prides itself on diversity. The local school district’s children speak over 60 different languages at home. We have significant Russian and Ukrainian populations. And we’ve gotten to know lots of them through their dogs – either from seeing them in our shop over the years or teaching obedience classes. There’s no difference in the love people have for their families. Including their dogs.

There’s no people like dog people

Last Saturday I (Hope) was at the AKC National Championship Dog Show. Among the people we know, there’s a saying: “A bad day at a dog show is better than a good day at work.”

I’m not entirely sure about that since I love what I do, but it was a great time. There was something for everyone who loves dogs: conformation (the beauty pageant part), Obedience, Rally Obedience, Agility, and Dock Diving, “Meet the Breeds,” and shopping. Lots and lots of shopping.

Let’s go to a show!

If you’ve never been to a dog show, take advantage if you see one in your area. It’s a world unto itself, with its own language, customs, rules, and etiquette. The most important rule is never try to engage someone who’s about to compete with their dog. They’ll be nervous, and probably seem rude. But if you wait until they come out of the ring and start by saying how much you admire their dog, your reception will be much warmer. No one can resist a complement for their “kids!”

Technically, the Agility part, where I spent most of my time, was the Invitational – the top five dogs (and one “preferred” dog) in each breed are invited to compete. The top finisher in each breed is awarded the breed medallion. 

You may know that my breed is French Bulldogs. And through the years I’ve gotten to know many other French Bulldog owners. Our dogs aren’t renowned as one of the most athletic breeds, or one of the smartest, but those of us who choose to play sports with our Frenchies have become a rather tight group. 

Cheer squad

5 dog people holding french bulldogs

There were six Frenchies slated to compete, but one, unfortunately, was unable to come at the last minute. All the rest, all five, were there for every single for everyone. Cheering, recording, sympathizing, supporting. And that’s why I love being part of dog sports. 

I was there as “kennel help.” Another Frenchie person actually brought an entire entourage of four. Two had no one helping them – except for their Frenchie “peeps” who stepped up and were there.

Meet more dog people

We’ve said it many times and will repeat it forever – dog people are among the finest on the planet. And a welcoming community as well. If you’re ever feeling the need for a home away from home – get involved with a dog club or group. 

You can start with taking a class at a local club. Finding one may be as easy as saying “Okay, Google!” Or “Hey, Siri!” Resolve to spend your time doing things you’ll enjoy with like-minded people. Resolve to have some fun with two- and four-legged friends. 

We just want to help dog people

Love. Simply put – it’s why we want to help dog people.

We love dogs. We love dog people. And we love helping families find solutions to issues big and small.

As anyone who’s ever worked in retail, from after-school jobs to full-blown careers, knows, there are days that are difficult. Then we get an email, or a phone call, or a note, that tells us we made a difference.

Golly love

Boston Terrier puppy sitting

For some reason, lately we’ve been thinking about our history in dogs quite a bit. We’re not sure why – we haven’t been cleaning out old picture files or anything. Just being more reflective. Maybe because we’ve welcomed Simon into our lives. Or maybe it’s adjusting to Teddy being gone. 

Brussels Griffon lying down

It occurred to us that many people aren’t familiar with our shop’s history – we’ve been at this quite a while and Golly, the adorable, diva Brussels Griffon we named the shop for, has been a cherished memory for more than a decade.

Small beginnings

Golly was the first dog in the family with any kind of dog sport title. She was one of those personalities that always makes an impression – she would not be ignored. 

And she was the first dog we had trouble accessorizing. She had a tiny little head (as Griffs do!), with a big chest, short back, and a dynamite smile. In all honesty, part of the reason Fran pursued obedience training with her was because she always slipped out of collars, we couldn’t find a harness that fit right and didn’t chafe, and we needed to know she’d come when called.

Sharing our finds

When we started investigating the options for “small dog stuff” for Golly, our family owned a bookstore. We’ve been retailers forever. Thinking about it, and talking to people who also had small dogs, we realized we weren’t alone trying to find proper dog gear for toy dogs. Friends were “making do” with products designed for cats. But it’s not safe to walk a dog on a collar designed to “break away.”

Because we were already in retail, we had resources for finding products from smaller makers, stuff that might not be available to larger operations. And we’re talking about a time long before internet shopping was a thing. We still called it the “world wide web!

We had to share our finds with other small-dog people. Finding solutions for ourselves, we could also help other people. We carved out a corner of the bookshop, printed a little sign that said “Golly Gear” and a new obsession was born!

Pioneers of e-commerce

Because we know that dog people, while among the most wonderful in the world, didn’t really have a common community (remember – no Facebook back in the day), we did start a website – in 2004! We hold very dear the email subscribers who are still with us after 15 years!

The “stuff” has evolved over the years, but we keep our vision focused on what’s best for dogs. We’re still committed to only carrying products that we use for our own dogs. Dogs aren’t “like” family – they are ours, and we know you think of your dogs the same way.