This week, we caught up to #sharethefetch with Austinite Melanie Demi (@herboozytails) in Austin, Texas. Austin is extremely dog-friendly and is only growing in popularity. Elon Musk even predicted that Austin, Texas will be 'the biggest boomtown that America has seen in 50 years'.
Our interview with Melanie will likely give you one more reason to move to Austin, and also includes the top 5 human-dog activities Melanie recommends to do in the city.
N-GAGE: The goal of your blog is to help you live your best life alongside your dogs. How did you come up with this idea?
Melanie: It's my goal in life in general, and since it's something that I'm actively pursuing, I figured why not share it with our audience and help them live their best life alongside their dogs.
NG: What made you want to start this blog?
M: I was struggling to find one place that answered all of the questions I had when planning dog-friendly travel or dog-friendly activities in Austin. So I thought to myself, "why not just create it?"
NG: How long have you had this account and what are its goals?
M: I've had the Instagram account for 3.5 years, but I didn't really start creating my brand until about a year and a half ago. My goal is to be the go-to place for people to find dog-friendly travel and lifestyle content.
NG: Tell us a little about Cooper, Brooklyn, and Lucas! What’s it like having such drastically different sized dogs?
M: It's actually not that much different than having similarly-sized dogs, other than the fact that people always comment about the stark contrast between them.
Cooper is our old man, and he's always been more independent and kept to himself. That was until we welcomed Lucas into the family — now he's got the energy of a puppy. He and Lucas love each other, they are constantly playing and spending time together. It's so heartwarming.
As for Brooklyn, she's the queen of the house. She loves the boys, but will also put them in their place if they are getting on her nerves. She spends most of her days begging for food, so there's not enough time for playing.
NG: You base your blog on three categories: Dog-friendly travel, Dog-friendly lifestyle, and Alcohol. Why these categories?
M: I'll break these into three separate segments, although the first two have pretty similar reasoning.
Travel is a huge part of my life. My husband and I are always exploring new places, and we bring the dogs along with us whenever possible. However, we found there were few resources to help others do that, so we wanted to create a way to share the information we've learned with everyone.
Similarly, we lead very dog-friendly lives. We're always looking for places with patios so we can bring our dogs, the best treats to feed our dogs, and the best products to make life easier for our dogs. So since we're already doing all of this research, we know others out there would be able to get some use out of it as well. I even like to sprinkle a few non-dog-related things in there for the dog parents, which is how we transition into our next topic.
What really got us into visiting dog-friendly spots were breweries. Because they aren't restaurants (unless it's a brew pub), a lot of breweries allow dogs inside, making it a perfect place to visit with your dog any time of the year. I've always loved beer (and actually started a women-led Craft Beer Podcast this year), so it was only fitting for me to include it in our account as something that I love. Since then, I've been lucky enough to be able to share some of our favorite alcohol-related brands with our audience, from small businesses to big industry names, and it's resonated well with our audience. People know us as the dog people who love to drink, haha!
NG: Do you run this account full time? What's it like being an influencer for dogs? If this is not your full time job, what do you do and how do you balance?
M: Phew, it's definitely a balancing act. I work full-time in marketing at an incredible company, and run my brand on the side. It's like having two full-time jobs in one.
I'm lucky enough to have a company that loves and accepts the work that I do for my business, which in turn gives me flexibility to manage both. I like to joke that during the day I'm a marketing expert, and at night, I'm a marketing expert who loves drinking with her dogs.
I will say, I don't consider myself a dog influencer. I did a year or two ago, but not anymore. I've been trying to differentiate myself from "just another dog account". We don't just share dog stuff, we share things for dogs *and* their humans, and we create content to match it. I think that has been the biggest balancing act for us — figuring out how to shift over to not just dogs, while staying true to our brand and audience.
NG: How long have you lived in Austin? What are your top 5 human-dog activities you recommend to do together here in Austin?
M: I've been in Austin for 15 years, minus a few years away at college. I truly feel spoiled because Austin is SUCH a dog-friendly city, it's more rare to see someone without a dog than someone with a dog. That being said, these are some of my favorite things to do with the pups:
- Visit dog-friendly breweries. There are so many incredible breweries in town, and a lot of them really love having four-legged customers. In fact, I created a directory that lists every brewery in the city, and just how dog-friendly they are.
- Paddle boarding. We have a lake in the middle of our city, with gorgeous views of downtown. In the summer (and spring and fall, hello Texas weather), you can find us paddling along the lake with one or two of the dogs on a board. We have our own, but there are several rental companies where you can find one for the day.
- Hiking/walking. There are so many incredible trails, parks and neighborhoods in Austin that we love walking with the dogs. Austin is such an incredibly active city, and we're lucky that the dogs get to come along with us.
- Dining on a patio. Another thing Austin is known for is its incredible food scene. We have so many amazing restaurants popping up every day, and most of them have gorgeous patios where we can sit and enjoy a meal with our dogs.
- Shopping. Like most of Austin, the majority of stores here (that don't sell food) allow dogs inside, which is a great way to escape the summer heat. Aside from that, there are so many amazing and local pet stores that truly love pets, so we make a point to visit those just as frequently as our human stores.
P.S. stay up to date with Melanie here!