In a recent interview with one of Barkology’s marketing partners, Quilted Squirrel, our owners Megan and Steve open up about themselves, their pets, their vision for Barkology, and some fun-filled perspectives on pop culture with a canine twist. Here’s what they had to say!
Tell us about who you are and where you’re from!
Megan: I was born in Lancaster, California, and moved to Darien, New York in 1999. I graduated from Alexander High School and received my bachelor’s degree in interior design from Cazenovia College.
Steven: I was born and raised in Buffalo, graduated from Orchard Park High School, and earned my bachelor’s degree in communications.
Sooo, how did you meet? How long have you been together?
M: Steve and I met online. We’ve been together for five years and pretty soon we will be married!
You’re engaged?! Awesome. Please tell us your dogs will be a part of the wedding.
M: Yes, of course. We haven’t figured out all of the details just yet, but they will be a part of it in some way.
Speaking of your dogs, tell us everything you can about them!
S: Jack is a goldendoodle and is five years old. He’s a sweet boy that loves to cuddle, loves the water, and his ball is his life! If he is not playing fetch—or dropping a ball on your lap for you to throw—he’s probably farting as he jumps onto the couch. Or barking at other dogs he sees on TV.
M: Nala is a 7-year-old diva and a total priss. She’s a toy Shiba Inu mixed with Pomeranian. Nala loves to claw at your hand when you stop petting her, and she’ll run away when you try to pet her willingly. She loves to sneak downstairs and get a midnight snack of cat food when we’re asleep! Nala also loves to snooze on the couch and lay in the ray of sun that comes through the window.
We’re guessing that Jack and Nala, then, were the inspiration for Barkology. Can you tell us more about how Barkology was born?
M: Jack and Nala were certainly the inspiration for Barkology. A few years ago, we were at the dog park the day after a few days of good rain. Our dogs were muddy as can be… leading to a muddy car and a 2-hour bath for the pups. It was a pain, and we thought it would be awesome if there was a place inside that we could bring our dogs during the winter—a place where they wouldn’t have to get muddy in the spring or rainy days.
S: Then we thought it would be even better if we could have a couple of drinks while our dogs were playing. After researching the idea and seeing how similar businesses down south were structured, we began putting together a business plan and started looking for the right space to make Barkology come to life.
M: After several months of getting that arranged, we were ready to start renovations and then boom! COVID hit. We had to pause the project, which led to us having to change parts of our business model and restructure our design. Toward the end of 2020, we started back up and have been working day and night making this place the best it could ever be.
What were your next steps in bringing Barkology to life?
S: We researched similar dog parks and bars that were down south, how they did their marketing, what their vibe was, and then we formed our own vision. We spent several months searching for the right property, dealing with the bank, realtor, town of Cheektowaga, architects, vendors, contractors, and much more.
M: It was a lot. I decided to leave my job at Millington Lockwood, where I was an interior designer for 7+ years. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one to make our dream come true. I’m with Barkology full-time and I couldn’t be happier.
S: I’m still working full-time at M&T bank where I manage a department within business banking, but I’m leveraging my experience in this area to help Barkology thrive financially.
M: A major decision for us was starting back up after COVID, especially after seeing so many bars, restaurants, and small businesses struggle during the pandemic. We had so much uncertainty of what would happen, but we decided to take the risk and do whatever it took to make things work.
What is your ultimate goal, or mission, for Barkology? What do you want it to be, and what can people expect from it?
M: Barkology is a fun, safe place for people to bring their dogs to socialize. It’s also a place where people can socialize themselves while enjoying a drink, some food, and a good atmosphere. People can expect Barkology to be extremely clean and well organized.
S: We love animals—dogs, especially, of course. And safety is our first priority. Our staff is well trained, CPR certified, and Megan and I are both pet tech certified. We’d love to open another location in due time, with the ultimate goal being to franchise the Barkology brand.
Why does the Buffalo area, or dog owners in general, need a doggy daycare / dog park?
M: A lot of the doggie daycares around Buffalo are very packed and have waitlists. Buffalo has several dog parks around town, but none are indoors, open in the spring, or have a mud-free zone, which is why we felt Buffalo needed this.
If you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be, and why?
S: I would definitely be a bulldog so I could skateboard.
M: I’d be a goldendoodle because they don’t shed and everyone loves them. I am also biased because of our goldendoodle, Jack!
What is your favorite dog-themed movie and why?
M: “Marley & Me” is up there. It shows the ups and downs of having a dog and puts perspective into how important they are to our lives.
It’s been widely speculated that “cats rule” and “dogs drool.” Your thoughts?
M: Hahaha. Well, our cat Sullivan Jones definitely rules, and my dog definitely drools… but dogs still RULE!!!!
Remember McGruff the Crime Dog? What do you think he’s up to?
S: Well… with marijuana being legal in New York State, he may no longer be on the force. But we hope he is well!
Finally: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
M: No chance. A hot dog is a hot dog!