Image Source: https://www.blogto.com/
Every day Kaya puts out treats, water and sticks for local dogs to enjoy for free during their walks. Of course, the manager Molly Meatlog (Kaya’s dog) always keeps an eye out on the cafe through the window.
Through this Kaya has built a community of dogs and their owners, known as the High Park Pups on Instagram. When visiting her yard, people are encouraged to snap a photo of their pet which Kaya later reposts on the account.
Kaya told blogTO that this all started nearly six years ago.
“I noticed that some of the dogs coming home from the park looked thirsty and tired. So I put out some water and a sign that said ‘for thirsty dogs’ out by the sidewalk.”
It was a hit and one owner even took a picture of their dog at the stand and left it in Kaya’s mailbox. Since then, her house was the place to be for every dog in the neighourhood.
When COVID hit last year, Kaya said seeing dogs go by her house became a highlight of her day. Molly Meatlog also found great enjoyment in watching them.
This gave her the idea to put out more decorations and treats for the fellow canine neighbours. This included milk bones (a staple at Starpups) and an ever-changing selection of snacks like beef liver bites and dried chicken tenders.
“I make sure to provide natural treats that are made in Canada, so people know what they are giving their dog is safe and healthy.”
And these dogs can definitely taste the quality because they keep coming back.
“It’s so cute seeing the dogs go by and pull their owners to my house for snacks. There are also dogs that refuse to move away from my house and it can be entertaining watching the owners trying to get them to walk again. Sometimes they have to pick them up and carry them off.”
As she got more regular visitors her Instagram account began to grow. Now, this posse of High Park pups can be seen strolling along the streets, begging their owners to stop by Kaya’s.
“Some of the owners even became dog walking buddies through the page. Not my dog through. She’s antisocial. She prefers looking from the window.”
Because Kaya created something so special for the local pups, many of them have returned the favour. She often gets notes and beers from her neighbours as a thank you.
Unfortunately, not everyone is so kind Kaya explained.
“One day someone came along and stole my whole setup. I was super bummed about it. They even took my little recycling bin, water bowl, treat bowl and everything.”
After posting about the situation to her Instagram, her fellow dog friends were quick to take action. She received cards, notes, photos and even some Pet Value gift cards to help her restock, and before you know it Starpups was back in business.
Since then she has continued to offer snacks, sticks and even goodie bags for special occasions like Halloween and Easter. With all of the positive feedback from both the dogs and their owners, Kaya is planning to continue her Starpups cafe as long as she can.
“I had felt so isolated all year with COVID and now I feel like I have an army of friends.”