Congratulations to Dogsters Max and Calibur for being featured in an article this week in The Seattle Times. With all these Dogsters being mentioned in The Seattle Times I’m beginning to wonder if the writers there aren’t hanging out on Dogster! If so, bark in Seattle Times Dogsters!
It’s a dog-meet-dog world
By Lisa Wogan
Special to The Seattle Times
From across the lawn, the people milling at Bellevue’s Downtown Park looked like they were herding rabbits. But a closer view revealed a sea of Chihuahuas at their feet. Dozens of tiny Taco Bell spokesdogs sniffed, tumbled, barked and shivered in what we must assume was the pleasure of one another’s company.
“The nature of Chihuahuas is they generally like their own type,” says Tammy Jansen, a 34-year-old medical aesthetician. Jansen launched this group as a social outlet for her three miniature pups Indy, Winnie and Coco.
With to-go cups of coffee and treats in hand, the owners made small talk, intervening when the teacups of fur erupted in sharp barks or the more adventurous wandered out of the circle on spindly legs.
While formal and informal playgroups have been a staple of living with a dog in the city, such one-breed meet-ups are a recent phenomenon, and part of a modern dog’s rapidly expanding e-life. Today, our canine companions have their own Web pages and e-mail buddies, online personals, virtual packs and playgroups.
These Chihuahua devotees meet monthly thanks to Jansen and Meetup.com, a 4-year-old Web site that connects people with shared interests.
Many of the regulars admit they don’t know each other by name, but it doesn’t matter. They speak the shared language of Chihuahua finding common ground in the dogs’ protective and somewhat possessive temperament, high-octane energy, maligned yippiness and affectionate disposition.
“It’s a really positive environment,” said Ann Auerbach, a Montessori teacher from Kirkland, who, along with her 12-year-old daughter, Sophie, and two Chihuahuas, has attended several times.
Here’s the part about Dogsters Max and Calibur:
Shaila Austria of Shoreline created a profile for her black lab, Max, after reading an article about Dogster. “My parents his grandparents, as they consider themselves thought it was cute and funny. They check his page frequently and give him bones,” says Austria, a 28-year-old administrative manager.
On Dogster, Max has 11 pup pals (that he’ll probably never meet), belongs to 10 groups (there are thousands) and with Austria’s help keeps a diary.
“It’s been a supportive place for me after losing three childhood dogs last year,” Austria says. “I’ve shed many a tear after reading a posting about someone else’s dog passing to the Rainbow Bridge.”
With photos of poodles on motorcycles and Bassett hounds dressed like farmers, the site also provides comic relief. Take the Naughty Pup Club. This 227-member, invitation-only group was established last year for hole diggers, food thieves and laundry pillagers extraordinaire. With a broken-bone logo and the motto “I didn’t do it,” members swap bad-boy stories and share photos of dog destruction pillow-foam sprayed across floors, a decimated remote-control and thrashed plants.
“I joke with people about it being a place to waste even more time than I already do online,” says Jina Joy Felton, whose leggy German shepherd mix, Calibur, has a profile on Dogster. “But … who can resist the endless jokes about ‘p-mail’ and typing without opposable thumbs?”
A 24-year-old nanny in North Seattle, Felton spends about two to three hours a week on Dogster, though she admits it’s never translated into new playmates for her or Calibur.