Welcome back to our series on morning routines where we highlight women around the city and talk to them about what their morning routines look like with their dog. No two mornings are alike and they shouldn’t be! A lot of people hope that dogs will help to bring routine and structure into our lives, to bring joy into mornings, to get up early, to lounge a little longer - whatever it is, it’s your sacred ritual. It’s designed to fit your life and your dogs’s. We’re just here to show how many different faces it can take on.

This week, we chatted with Karlene, an actress, performer, maker and dreamer about life in New York with her social media famous goldendoodle Teddy. They’ve lived all over New York, learned from each other and shared their lives with one another in a city that’s thrown a lot their way.

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How long have you been in New York?

I’ve been in NYC for six years.

You’re an actress, performer, maker. How did you get into it and what do you love most about what you do?

The art of acting is all about playing and creating.  I’m very thankful that my inner child has stayed with me so long and won’t let up. Starting from an early age, my experiences with music, theater, and dance inspired me immensely.  Over these past years, I’ve trained in classical voice and theater, worked with acting techniques ranging Meisner to Movement exercises. I’ve studied ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary dance, and have found a great joy in working in arts education programs across the city.  Currently I’m working in commercials, commercial print and voice over and am excited to take a step into that creative field. I’m thrilled for this upcoming year and all the potential it holds. 

You grew up in the midwest, performing theater. What made you move out here?

I grew up in Blair, Nebraska right outside of Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska. My parents were a huge influence on me, always encouraging me to get involved.  I sang with an international traveling children’s choir until I graduated high school which allowed me to sing all across the world from the Great Wall of China to the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was my biggest inspiration to continue to grow and develop creatively.  After college, I graduated with two degrees: one in music and the other in theater, and decided I needed to make the next step and see where New York City would lead me.

Alright, let’s get to Teddy - the dog influencer to end all influencers. How did you guys even get started in that world?

Firstly, thank you so much for your kind words, I’m extremely grateful for where we are and what we can do to develop and grow in the future. Secondly, I feel that it all started at the cusp of the “dogs on Instagram” scene roughly 4 years ago.  At that stage, it was a growing community and the algorithm had not changed yet. We met tons of accounts and we created an online family. It still feels that way, even as things have changed. It’s gotten a bit more competitive, but we are still excited for the future and for where social media is going! 

What’s the best part of having a dog who’s an influencer? What’s the worst part?

The best part is sharing in the joy of our online community: Seeing what all our friends are doing, the content they are sharing, and feeling connected to it all. The worst part would have to be the pressures of creating content so regularly, where we feel that we need to post to stay relevant.  But, that’s the task at hand where social media changes from extracurricular to an actual business.  

You’ve moved (what feels like) a million times in this city and have lived in almost every burrough with roommates, without roommates the whole thing. What was your favorite living situation and why?

Ah moving! It’s shaped me for sure! I used to live in Harlem, then down to Flatbush, then over to Ridgewood, and now I’m living in Bushwick.  My favorite living situation will be in the upcoming year when I can move in with my boyfriend (crossing fingers to live in Crown Heights next to Prospect Park.) 

How has Teddy handled moving around the city? How does he do with new roommates?

Teddy’s come along for the ride and he loves every spot.  In fact, I should say that that’s the best living situation: Teddy makes every place feel like home and all my roomates have loved him.  He makes sure that he greets everyone when they get home, and gets allll the pets, too! :) 

What made you get Teddy in the first place?

I’ve always wanted a dog.  I got the bear just about 2 years into living in the city, and it’s been the best decision I could have ever made.  

How’d you land on his name?

His full name is Theodore Bernard / But Teddy, T, Tedward, Tbear, Tedders, etc for short.

A few days before picking him up,  I came across the origin story of the “Teddy Bear.”  It involves Theodore Roosevelt going out with a hunting party and refusing to shoot a bear tied to a tree. Word got around, a cartoonist got involved, and a toy company made a stuffed bear.  It was a hit! The first Teddy Bears for Teddy Roosevelt.

And, Bernard is Germanic meaning “brave/hardy bear” which he has been growing into. :) 

How would you describe his personality? Have you seen his personality change over the years or has he been pretty steady?

He is fun-loving, social, and very smart.  He is growing into maturity as well. He looooves sleeping in and cuddling all morning. 

How do you balance your personal, professional, social and mom life?

I find myself in a more structured schedule, which I love.  I’ve gotten into a rhythm that suits us both well. We spend the mornings and nights together, and when I have full days he can come with me to select locations.  He is working himself as well. We just got cast together for a commercial which paid us both the same! So inclusive!! My big dream is to book him a series regular spot as a family dog.  THAT would be amazing!

What’s been the hardest part of having Teddy in the city? What’s been the best part?

I think the hard part is leaving him for long periods of time when I have to work or travel, but he’s always well looked after.  We just got back from Argentina and my roommates took the best care of him. He treats everyone like family. The best part is to include him in that way.  He’s a human in a bear suit!

What are some of your favorite activities to do on the weekends with him? Or when you have a little bit more time?

We love enjoying the afternoons at outdoor cafes when the weather is warm.  We get a group together and go to breweries that are dog friendly or dine out outside at a variety of restaurants.  

What’s his favorite food?

Oooo hmmmm I’d say steak.

What’s yours?

I love my grandma’s recipe for homemade chicken noodle soup with sauerkraut and brown rice! It’s amazing, I promise!

What time do the two of you wake up every morning?

Our goal for 2020 is to get up earlier, but it always changes with my schedule.  I’d say round 9 am. 

Are you guys early birds or night owls?

We can go both ways too.  Teddy is able to go to bed super late with me or wake up at the crack of dawn.  He’s just happy when it involves food! :) 

Does he sleep in your bed?

Yes! But, he does like to find spots around the room where sweatshirts or blankets have been laid to make himself his own little bed for the night. 

What’s the first thing you do every day?

Get up for breakfast and listen to the news. Teddy has to stay educated on current politics too.

What’s the first thing the two of you do together every day?

I’d say we always have a little snuggle session before the day starts.  I check a few things on my phone (emails, social media, etc) and we relax together before we really let the day in.  

What’s for breakfast for each of you?

It’s peanut butter toast for me, and a scoop of dried food for the bear (with a fingerful of peanut butter on the side). :) 

Walk before or after breakfast?

After

Do you listen to anything while you get ready for the day?

I love podcasts, especially “The Daily” from the New York Times and my FAV “Armchair Expert” with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman.  

What’s your favorite song of 2019?

Anything with Dua Lipa, Lizzo, or Rosalía

Healthiest morning habit:

My skin care routine

Worst morning habit:

Getting lazy on my workouts

One word to describe your mornings:

Peaceful 

I never leave home without…

Beats Headphones

If you had one extra hour in the mornings, how would you use it?

Stretching / Yoga

The best part of mornings with my dog is….

The lazy morning snuggles


Our morning routine series is designed to showcase the diversity of experiences that come with having a dog in the city in all the ups and all the downs.

If you and your dog would like to be featured, text ‘ritual’ to 29071