Barry runs with a pack of off-lead dogs through London’s Kensington Park. Kimberly walks her leashed pups in Washington state. Both are sure of their path because of their canine companions.
For those who pay close attention, dogs are fantastic teachers. Today, a story about a man whose dog saved his life … and a woman whose dog can teach us all good boundaries.
London Calling: Urban Dogs Pampered
Chef/owner Barry Karacostas’ wife handed him an ultimatum: get your life together and stop partying. She also handed him their dog’s leash. Forced to come home to feed and walk Leo, their Rottweiler, Barry’s priorities shifted. The pair started running in the park off lead. Both became more fit, and Barry stayed sober. They were on the right path … and it led to a brand-new business. Now he’s reimagining wellness for every dog – and human – in London as a thank you to the species he credits with saving his life.
Don’t Pet My F***ing Dog
Kimberly Gauthier loves her dogs and their walks in her Washington state neighborhood. What doesn’t she love? When strangers rush up to pet them without getting permission! Her popular blog post No! You Can’t Pet My F***ing Dog has polarized readers. Some agree … while others are less understanding. On today’s show we find out: can Kimberly help break (Dog Edition Co-host) Pam’s habit of petting strange dogs?
Jim and Pam stop by the hydrant to sniff out the latest dog gossip, innuendo, @jokes, and notes.
1:10 On Today's Show
2:18 London Calling: Urban Dogs Pampered
11:51 Don’t Pet My F***ing Dog
20:01 The Hydrant
21:57 On the Next Episode
Barry Karacostas - Urban Mutts
Barry Karacostas was a chef-owner going through a difficult time. His dog, Leo, was a kind-hearted Rottie who knew just what he needed. Dragging Barry out for daily walks led to conversations with other dog lovers. As he and Leo became fit and healthy, Barry invited more dogs to join their off-lead pack. His Dog Jogger business attracted celebrity clients. As he learned about canine psychology, Barry realized dogs needed true wellness. He opened Urban Mutts Dog Club & Hotel … a re-imagined day care and hotel facility that is the ultimate “five star hotel” for dogs and their Londoner companions.
Kimberly Gauthier started her Keep the Tail Wagging blog in December 2011 as an expression for her love of her dogs. She chronicles her adventures in dog nutrition, raw feeding, health, training, behavior, and more. No longer a hobby, her site is now a woman/minority-owned small business. The goal? To raise awareness of natural alternative canine care and wellbeing. She is the author of A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding and Keeping it Raw™: 100 Questions Pet Parents Ask About Raw Feeding for Dogs.
>> James Jacobson: [00:00:00] Hi, I'm James Jacobson.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:06] And I'm Pamela Lorence.
>> James Jacobson: [00:00:08] Welcome to Dog Edition, the first show designed for you to listen to while you walk your dogs. Thank you for hitting play on the episode. If you saw it in your podcast player, you saw the name of this episode, which is don't pet my f***ing dogs, but of course you didn't hear me say that because we are a family friendly network here at Dog Podcast Network. And we interview lots of people and sometimes they throw in a few expletives, which always get covered with a random or a carefully placed carefully placed. Yes. And, and, and Pamela is one of the people who places it. Uh, and I'm so grateful because we want to maintain, maintain our good ratings with, with all the podcast players.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:55] We call them sentence enhancers in my house.
>> James Jacobson: [00:00:58] I liked that. I like that. Do you, do you start, do you start putting dog injections?
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:04] I should just start barking. That's right.
>> James Jacobson: [00:01:09] It's funny.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:10] You talk to somebody cool this week.
>> James Jacobson: [00:01:12] I did. And he did and use any profanity. He is in London. Uh, it's Barry Karacostas, who you will hear from in our first segment. He is a celebrity dog jogger in London. He can't even name some of his, many of his clients, and he's created this super posh club for, for urban mutts in London. That's in our first segment.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:34] And then later on in the show, I get a slap on the wrist, not for my language, but for my habit of petting strangers' dogs, which I guess is frowned upon by some people.
>> James Jacobson: [00:01:48] And then as always, after that, please visit us as we stop by The Hydrant at the end of the show for a rundown on some of the doggy headlines that have captured our attention this week. So if you love dogs as much as we do, pause what you're doing, leash up your pup and let's take a walk. We've got a lot to talk about on today's episode of Dog Edition.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:02:12] Hey Pepper, want to go for a walk? Life is a series of choices that sends us down one path or another. When the path we're on turns out to be destructive, it can be difficult to redirect ourselves. Sometimes it takes an outside force to push us onto the better healthier path. For Barry Karacostas, it was his wife, Julie, and their Rottweiler, Leo who pushed him onto his current path. He credits them with saving his life. Our first story begins in the posh West London neighborhood of Kensington with an ultimatum.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:02:50] I'm giving you six months, I'm going, you know, I've had it. And you look after Leo, he's your dog as well. You need to, you know, show responsibility.
>> James Jacobson: [00:03:01] Barry Karacostas worked in the restaurant industry from the time he was 16 years old until his mid thirties. It's a career that demands long hours and late nights. The pace is relentless. He made some poor lifestyle choices during those years.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:03:18] So I was, you know, drinking too much. I had, you know, I had a huge problem with drugs. Um, I wasn't sleeping and, you know, it took a really bad knock on effect.
>> James Jacobson: [00:03:30] Barry's wife, Julie handed over responsibility for Leo, the Rottweiler, but it was more than that. What she was really handing him was a new lease or a new leash, on life.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:03:43] And I had a, you know, an element of responsibility. I needed to go home. I needed to walk him in the morning, walk him at lunchtime, walk him in the evening. Um, so things were driving me back home. Whereas before I didn't have the need to go home because everything was looked after.
>> James Jacobson: [00:03:58] Barry and Leo took long walks through Kensington park. He often stopped to chat with fellow dog lovers. His appreciation for Leo grew as did his appreciation for the dogs that he met while they were out and about. Which led Barry to contemplate the options that lay ahead for him.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:04:17] And then we just started walking and, you know, um, I was in Kensington Gardens and, uh, there was an individual there that approached me. He had a business and he was moving away and he said, you know, I see you in the park you're doing anything at the moment. I said, no, you know, I sold a business. Um, and I'm, you know, just trying to find a different path, you know? So he goes to me while I'm selling my business. How about you buy a dog walking business.
>> James Jacobson: [00:04:41] By this point, Barry, fully recognized Leo's role in transforming his life. He felt a deep commitment to dogs. So he made an offer to buy the dog walking business.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:04:52] Leo was the one that got me out and about, and I was communicating with people. I was getting a little bit fitter and then I started running with him, um, to get a little bit fitter and look the part because I was, you know, five and a half stone heavier than I am now. Um, So I wanted to get fitter so I could do the job better.
>> James Jacobson: [00:05:12] Like most things in Barry's life, he approached this with an all in attitude. He wanted his clients, both dog and human to get the most benefit from his services.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:05:23] Um, so I started running with Leo before I was going to see clients. And then I thought, nah, you know, these dogs are still going home and they've got barrels of energy. So I started reading about, you know, different, you know, engagements, both mentally and physically to drain energy of dogs so they could become easier to train. And, you know, running as a pack was one of them.
>> James Jacobson: [00:05:42] And Barry's pack started with three dogs and grew to about 20. They ran early mornings off leash, through the parks. He had a process for introducing new dogs to the pack.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:05:54] They would be attached to me for the first, you know, seven to 10 days. They had to learn that they weren't allowed to cross my legs. So obviously keeps me safe and obviously them, because, you know, they don't, yeah. You know, you don't want to have 15 stone bloke, you know, over a Jack Russell or a Vizhla, you know, that can be very, very, um, painful for them. And also me. Uh, also an integration into the pack into the pack cause I'm introducing them. So they, they, you know, the other pack members get that confidence from me. That this dog's okay. We need to accept them into the pack or how into the pack.
>> James Jacobson: [00:06:30] This pack got plenty of exercise.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:06:33] You know, I would do six to eight kilometers and we would track the dogs with GPS and because they don't run in a straight line, they would, they would clock anything between 20 to 30 kilometers on a six to eight, my, my run.
>> James Jacobson: [00:06:47] Barry Karacostas became known as the Dog Jogger. His pack runs made dogs fitter, happier and more confident. Supermodel Elle MacPherson called on him for her dogs, Bella and Moon. There've been other celebrities too, but Barry is discrete when it comes to his clientele. But if you think the sight of a man running with a pack of 20 dogs through London's parks might turn a few heads. Well, you'd be right.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:07:16] Oh, people love seeing it because they couldn't believe that the dogs were staying with me. I mean, if I ran off a cliff they'd run with me. You know, and it was, it was, you know, is hugely empowering and, and, you know, I felt proud of them. They felt, they felt great. So the end of the exercise, we would sit down and literally they would just all just naturally sit around me and it was, you know, hugely empowering to me.
Um, and so satisfying and soul soul satisfying, that you know, I could actually give back to this wonderful species that's saved my life.
>> James Jacobson: [00:07:49] This soul satisfying path has led to Barry's latest endeavor for dogs, the Urban Mutts Dog Club and Hotel. It's a member's club meets modern fitness, daycare, and wellbeing space, for the city dog. Picture yourself as a fluffy white Maltese.
You're pampering begins immediately. Are you prone to tear stains? Perhaps you opt for a blueberry facial.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:08:19] It says very, um, uh, meditative, uh, treatment, you know, both for groomer and for the dog. And it gets results. You've got a nice, pristine white, nice glowing for when you face.
>> James Jacobson: [00:08:35] Next, stop the social club.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:08:38] In your day, you would get an enrichment time one-to-one away from the pack, which would be any top-up train in that, or learn a new trick to show off when your owners come and pick them up.
And then you would have a physical examination. And just give them a onceover, just to make sure that they're all healthy and we haven't noticed any lumps or bumps anywhere. And then you would get a bit of time to socialize, find your friends, and then we'll group you up with a maximum of four dogs.
>> James Jacobson: [00:09:08] And a little outing in the park to let loose.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:09:11] That's for you to do whatever you want. Do you want to roll around in mud, roll around in mud. Get loose, get with it. We'll we'll clean that out. Trust me. Before the, before they come pick you up.
>> James Jacobson: [00:09:21] After one last walk, it's time to head to your sleep hut. You've got raised beds.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:09:26] You've got mood lighting. Um, there's a chill out music playing, so it's quite tranquil. So we can dim the lights and then you would have your dinner.
>> James Jacobson: [00:09:36] You're getting five-star round the clock treatment.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:09:40] It's 24 hour supervision. So if you're in need in the middle of the night and you know, you need to go to the bathroom, there's somebody there to take you out. Um, and then again, to bring you back and give you oodles of cuddles until you're nod off again.
>> James Jacobson: [00:09:55] Barry describes it this way:
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:09:57] Urband Mutts, as a concept is about creating that community and that support for owners. Um, because we do have busy lives and what happens is the dog gets pushed aside, um, and it's barking and it's chewing the shoes and they're like, they're just looking for, you know, a way out. Okay. So how can I live with this dog?
Because I love it, to pieces, but I don't want to give it away. So you need to provide them convenience.
>> James Jacobson: [00:10:23] The simple mission of urban mutts, making city dogs happier and healthy so that they can make their busy urban owners feel the same way, seems like it might be Barry's way of saying thank you to Leo and to Julie for getting him on the right path.
>> Barry Karacostas: [00:10:42] The most important thing for, for me in, in, in this industry is to make sure that the dog is looked after in the best possible way. My wife, I have to always mention her first, and my dog, uh, Leo, the Rottweiler, um, that guided me through and out of a very deep hole. And I, you know, managed to turn my life around.
So the underlining commitment to dog is very, very real and very strong, um, because they saved my life and my family, you know, I wouldn't, I wouldn't have a family if it wasn't for the dog.
>> James Jacobson: [00:11:17] So Leo really did save his life and helped him to create this amazing facility. Uh, Barry is my guest this week on The Long Leash and he gets into much more detail about what one could experience if they brought their dog to this club, which I think he's going to be expanding beyond London.
And we may see it in the United States.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:11:40] Forget my dog. I want to go there.
>> James Jacobson: [00:11:42] It's a pretty cool place. We're gonna take a break. We'll be right back.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:11:46] You're listening to Dog Edition.
Welcome back to Dog Edition
>> James Jacobson: [00:11:51] You're out, walking your dog. You have your earbuds in here listening to Dog Edition, of course. And someone comes up asking to pet your dog, guess what?
You're under no obligation to say yes. And there are a ton of reasons why you might want to say no. So why is it so hard for us humans to impose and accept boundaries, when it comes to our dogs?
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:12:19] I have this image from a scene in snow white that plays in my mind whenever I'm out, walking on a sunny day. I imagine I can put my arms out and bluebirds will perch there to sing.
Woodland critters will gather around the hem of my yoga pants and every creature I encounter will naturally love me, including your dog. I have no boundaries when it comes to cute dogs. And I think all dogs are cute. I will ask if it's okay to pet your dog, but I always expect the answer to be yes. And by the time you've had a chance to answer, I'm already up in your dog's face.
Well, I recently found out from Kimberly Gauthier that this is not always a charming and welcome behavior, and that was a hard lesson to learn. I am one of these people that, that do pet strangers dogs.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:13:11] Yup. You're the person.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:13:13] Kimberly Gauthier started a blog back in December of 2011 as a way to chronicle her experiences as a dog person and as an expression of her love for her dogs. She often reshared a post from 2019 titled, No, You Can't Pet My Dog, because the message is one that people like me need to be reminded of. She makes her point with an analogy about kids.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:13:39] So it's like if I were walking down the street with my two kids and you know, and let's just say, they're, they were twins, twins are adorable, you know, they're twins, they're dressed alike and you know, and yeah.
You will, you will, you might comment beautiful children. Oh, wow. Twins. But it would never occur to anyone to come and pick up my children or pet them or kiss them or hug them or anything. And if they did and I said, you know, Oh no, they would be like, Oh my God, I'm so sorry. You're right. What a creeper I am.
But when it comes to our dogs, it's just sort of like, there's no boundaries.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:14:15] Creating some boundaries for our dogs can be important for so many reasons. For example, when other dogs are around.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:14:22] Not all dogs are dog people, if that makes sense. You know, dogs are dogs selective. And so imagine, you know, humans acting the way dogs do. So we're like running up into each other's faces and sniffing, and we're doing all these things and it's like, all of that stuff would be such a turnoff. Yeah. For some dogs, that's a turn off as well. They're not interested in a stranger, sniffing them and being all around them. They want their space and it's like, Oh, Did not know this.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:14:52] I did not know this. And also sometimes the dogs human wants their space.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:14:58] At the end of the day, and when I'm walking my dogs and I'm listening to like a book and letting my dogs sniff every blade of grass in the state, um, I just want, um, like cooling down and relaxing. And I don't mind, I, I hate, I mean, it makes it seem like I just hate human beings or something.
And I mean, I'm, I'm social sometimes, but sometimes I just want to be, um, you know, I just want to be on my own.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:15:26] Boundaries are also important for protecting and teaching children about how to behave around dogs.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:15:31] I chose not to have children. My dogs are not socialized around children at all, and that is a big deal for some, for some dogs. To my dogs, children are tiny humans that move too fast and have sticky fingers and have high pitch screeching. And they're just like, I don't know what this is, but I don't want it near me. I've had children where they were about to get all crazy, cause they saw the dogs and, and a parent like immediately shut it down.
I just want to bow down, like thank you so much because that would have gone horribly wrong. And I would have been the one that was wrong.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:16:05] Kimberly brought up another very important reason why she might say no or avoid you if you approach to pet her dog. Listen up guys.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:16:15] There was a time when I was walking, my dog, someone was coming, so I crossed the street.
So they cross the street. So I cross the street again. So they cross the street again and then I've crossed the street a third time. When they started crossing the street, I was just like, are you kidding me? I mean oh my gosh, I am actively trying to avoid you. It was a guy. And I honestly think that for women, we recognize that because that is true, like grab my purse, put my keys in my finger, cross the road type of thing. We, we would, we would recognize that immediately, but I've actually had this conversation with my partner where, um, you know, explaining to him like, what it is to be a woman versus being a man. And like the things that he takes for granted that, you know, we can't afford to. Not to say that, you know, men are stupid or anything like that, or that the guy that was doing this was being insensitive.
I just don't think it, none of that occurred to him. And I bet you, if he went home, if he was married and told his wife what he did, she'd be like, are you out of your mind chasing that poor woman down? Probably scared the hell out of her.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:17:20] Owners can also sometimes have a false sense of control over their own dogs and how that dog might be accepted when greeting another dog.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:17:28] But it was people being dragged towards me by their dog. So they're so obviously not in control of their dog. And I'm trying to be nice and go, Oh no, we're not, you know, we're not greeting right now, we're training. I do all the things that people tell you. well, we're training right now. My dog is in training or my dog is, you know, not having a great day or, you know, just anything.
And the person is still like, no, it's okay. No, it's okay. And I'm like, I'm like, literally just standing here telling you that it's not okay until finally I'm just like, no.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:18:00] That no can feel like a personal rejection from someone who thinks you will love my dog. You will love me. I will love your dog. This will all be wonderful.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:18:11] And I think it's because people in that moment can't possibly think of any reason why someone would say no, unless it's a rejection. Whereas on the flip side, It's like, I'm saying no, because my dog is reactive or I'm saying no, because I, or sometimes I just don't want to talk.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:18:26] Those feelings of rejection have led to some unfortunate encounters.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:18:31] Follow up with the person will call you a name. Well, you don't have to be such a b-word about it. I'm just politely asking you to back off. And just respect the fact that I'm not interested in meeting your dog.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:18:43] In an effort to rehabilitate myself, I asked Kimberly what signs I should look for before I run up and invite myself or my dog into your dog's space.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:18:52] To you, for instance, it's just sort of like trust that I know my dog best and it's really not personal. It's not like I saw you and you're wearing a big ugly shirt with big orange, yellow flowers on it. And I'm like, Oh, that ain't happening. If I'm making eye contact with you. If I see, see you and we make eye contact we smile and it's just sort of like a, Hey, you know, then that's kind of like, Oh, well, can I pet your dog and stuff like that, you know, that's fine.
But it's sort of like if someone is going out of their way to avoid ya, give me an opportunity to just be able to say no. And for us to like, be able to get around each other.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:19:27] Fine, fine lesson learned. I recognize I'm nothing like Snow White, especially in my big ugly shirt with orange and yellow flowers. But Kimberly and I both agree that life is better with dogs.
>> Kimberly Gauthier: [00:19:40] I think I, that, that needs to be a t-shirt because that is so very true. My life is better with dogs. I love it.
>> James Jacobson: [00:19:48] So Pam are, you are changed woman now.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:19:51] Oh, no way.
>> James Jacobson: [00:19:53] You're still going to go out and pet everyone's dog. Well, just ask really nicely. Okay. I love it. I think it's great.
Well, let's go visit The Hydrant and, uh, share some of the stories that have caught our attention this week. What have you seen.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:20:10] I saw a really fun video that's making the rounds of this high school track meet and this runner she's a senior Gracie Laney, uh, is crossing the finish line. And in the video you see this golden doodle just racing up behind her running at full speed and she doesn't know what's happening.
And then the dog passes her, crosses the finish line first and wins the meet. Uh it's it's incredible.
>> James Jacobson: [00:20:33] I love it. Well, we will post a link to that video in the show notes for today's episode. That is really cool. I like golden doodles who are super athletic. That's awesome.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:20:45] What did you see?
>> James Jacobson: [00:20:46] I have been following this speech pathologist, uh, Christina Hunger, who has written a book and has created a custom soundboard to talk to her dog,
Stella. Literally talk to her. The dog pushes Stella pushes buttons. it's sort of like those buzzers that have recorded voice. And can communicate and effectively speak and she's teaching people how to do it. It's a new rage. So if you want to truly talk to your dog, you can build one of these sound boards.
If you want to hear, you know, what, if you want to hear more about it, this and how to do this, let us know by our reaching out to us on our website at dogedition.com and maybe we will do a little research and cover this on a future episode.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:21:34] That would be, so that would be so cool. I don't know if I want to hear what my dogs have to say, but that would be pretty cool. Let's do it.
>> James Jacobson: [00:21:41] We could bleep it.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:21:44] That's true. My dogs would have a few words, say a few sentence enhancers.
>> James Jacobson: [00:21:47] A few words that would have to be covered with barks. So that gets too meta for me. That's hilarious. Okay. So that's all we have time for for today, but thank you for bringing Dog Edition along with you on your walk. We will be back here with another episode next week, but chances are you and your dog will be taking a walk between now and then.
And so we have something else for you to listen to.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:22:17] If you're interested in hearing more from some of our guests, please check out DPN sister show The Long Leash for Jim's extended conversations. Who do you have on this week?
>> James Jacobson: [00:22:26] This week, you can hear my conversation with Barry Karacostas from Urban Mutts and learn about the wonderful world of posh dog care in London. It's really, really cool.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:22:37] And follow Dog Edition in your favorite podcast app, so you can take us along on your dog walk next time.
>> James Jacobson: [00:22:44] Next episode, we learn from a famed Motown music producer, how the perfect mix of music and voice and sounds can sooth anxious, shelter dogs.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:22:57] And we have a Frank and important discussion about pet grief. You'll hear those stories and more. Dog Podcast Network is for dog lovers by dog lovers and that means we want to hear from you.
>> James Jacobson: [00:23:07] Visit Dog Edition.com. There is a button on the bottom, right of every episode page. So you can easily leave us a voicemail and share your story ideas with us.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:23:17] And check the show notes for links and information about the guests on this episode.
>> James Jacobson: [00:23:21] We are looking for correspondents as we continue to grow Dog Podcast Network. So if you are a content producer or a journalist or a podcaster or an audio storyteller, but you got to love dogs check, why else would you be listening to the show? Check out our Hundred and One Dog Stories Contest because we have over $15,000 in prize money.
And some of it could be yours. Just go to Dog Podcast Network.com for details.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:23:52] And join our pack. Be sure to follow Dog Edition in your favorite podcast app and leave a review, tell a friend about the show. I'm Pamela Lorence and I'll see you at the dog park.
>> James Jacobson: [00:24:02] And I'm, don't touch those dogs there without asking.
>> Pamela Lorence: [00:24:06] I can't help it.
>> James Jacobson: [00:24:07] And I'm James Jacobson. I really want to thank you for listening today. On behalf of all of us here at Dog Podcast Network, we wish you and your dog, a very warm, Aloha.