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 Meg, a literary and development executive at FX and mom to 7-lb fireball Luna. Meg’s a writer, star sign aficionado and Luna’s lazier half (if you can believe that)
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How long have you been in New York?
What do you do for work and what do you love most about what you do?
I work for FX as a literary and development executive. Basically, it’s trying to find books, plays, articles-- whatever!-- and then turning them into really good TV with our writers and producers.
You wrote a children’s book! Tell us about it.
My first book for kids comes out January 21. It’s called ALTHEA GIBSON: The Story of Tennis’ Fleet-of-Foot Girl, and it’s about the first black woman to win a title at Wimbledon. I have a book for adults coming out February 11 that’s written with my bestie Nick Greene called $9 THERAPY, which is basically our version of goop for the people we were when we were 23. It’s hacks and tips to take care of yourself and seem like you have your shit together.
When did you first decide to get Luna and how did you land on the name?
When I moved to Brooklyn, it was the first time it felt like having a pet could be a real thing. I had a job that paid a little more, much more room, and I was living with my sister (who I knew would be an enthusiastic co-parent). I walked into a shelter thinking I was going to get a fluffy, medium-sized dog to be my emotional support animal and sit quietly next to me while I read, and then this tiny little white smush whose tail never stops wagging threw herself against the glass. I was a total goner. We changed her name immediately: she’d come from the streets in Alabama and the people at the shelter named her “Precious Girl,” which...no, not her brand. Luna Joan has three namesakes: Luna the cat from Sailor Moon, Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, and for her middle name, Joan Didion. But I call her Loon, Lulu, Lu, Loony....Lululemon? Luna Bee? It’s versatile for nicknames.
You say that Luna runs your life - how do you tackle the responsibilities that come with trying to balance your social life with your professional life with your life raising her?
I say “runs my life,” because there’s no negotiating with dogs-- they can’t argue with you, or explain their thoughts, or rationalize what you’re doing. She doesn’t care if I have an event after work, or that I’m stressed about finishing an assignment, she’s gonna need food and a walk anyway, and that’s all there is to it. Rover has been a godsend, and so has the midday walker who takes her out two afternoons a week. I’m still trying to balance my social and professional lives. Is that even a thing? But at least whenever I’m done running around, there’s a spunky, silly, wiggly little living thing waiting for me who is SO HAPPY to see me at home, no matter what.
What’s been the hardest part of having Luna in New York?
She’s such a nervous pup but its combined with such dumb bravery. I get her anxiety-- she’s literally 1/10 of the size of some of the dogs in the park, but like, WHY does she bark at every skateboard? I used to stress a ton about how city life was affecting her but while I totally experimented with doggie Prozac and CBD and lavender essential oils, I’ve stopped worrying so much. She has a home, I love her, and she’s off the street. She’s a happy little girl when she’s with her people!
What are some of your favorite activities to do with Luna on weekends or when you have a little bit more time?
If I could, I’d nap with her all day. I’m so much lazier than she is! If she could wrestle all day, she would: she growls like she’s a pitbull when we play tug with her toys (many of which are literally her size).
How would you describe her personality? Who’s her celebrity spirit animal?:
Oh, wow. I mean, she’s a loon in the truest sense. My sister and I have finally landed on her horoscope (she’s a rescue so we have no idea when she was born), which we decided is Scorpio, Aquarius rising, moon in Taurus. She’s a little weirdo with a lot of feelings. No chill at all. Kind of like the dog from UP meets Billie Eilish?
What time do and Luna wake up every morning?:
Around 7 I hear little squeaks coming from Lu’s crate. I’m usually up reading before work half the time, anyway.
Are you guys early birds or night owls?
Definite early birds. My brain falls asleep at about 9 pm.
Does she sleep in your bed?
She sleeps next to it. I don’t crate her during the day, only at night, so it’s kind of her little cave. I pull a blanket over it when it’s cold, like she’s a little parrot in a birdcage.
What's the first thing you do every day? And what's the first thing you two do together every day?
Hate to say it, but I’m probably reading the news on my phone. And then when she wakes up, I let her into my bed and under the duvet for snuggles until the alarm goes. It’s especially amazing in the winter: like my own personal hot water bottle. When she pops her head out from under the covers and starts wiggling around the room and licking my face, I know it’s time for me to pull myself out of bed. She’s a vocal one: there’s no question of “five more minutes” without a symphony of squeaking.
What's for breakfast?
I feed her a ¼ cup of grain-free chicken and sweet potato dry food, with a squirt of salmon oil. If I have leftovers that she can eat, like eggs, brown rice, or steamed veggies, sometimes I’ll let her have some of that, too. She can be very persuasive with the puppy eyes. If I need a few more minutes in bed or on emails, she’ll get lucky and be distracted with a bully stick or treat. I freeze a little plain Greek yogurt and almond butter in leftover marrow bones from when I make broth, and that’ll keep her busy for at least 15 minutes or so.
Walk before or after breakfast?
After breakfast! We’re hungry girls.
What do you listen to while getting ready for the day?
On the walk, it’s a lot of musical theatre soundtracks or bubblegum pop: Carly Rae got a ton of play this summer. I used to listen to the news, but that was a bit grim for 7:30 am. If there’s a new Thirst AId Kit, Pop Culture Happy Hour, or episode of The Read, I’ll put it on 1.6x speed and that’ll take up the walk to the dog park and back.
Healthiest morning habit:
A big glass of water before my bodega coffee, and always putting on SPF before heading out on a walk. Also, the dog park is so social! I can at least guarantee that I’ll have some chill human interaction while making sure Loon isn’t terrorizing anyone for treats.
Worst morning habit:
Reaching for my phone first thing.
One word to describe your mornings:
I never leave home without…
I wish I could say “my keys,” but Lord knows I’ve locked myself out too many times for that to be true.
If you had one extra hour in the morning, how would you use it?
The best part of mornings with my dog is:
Watching her face every day with SO MUCH EXCITEMENT. She just makes me laugh.
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