This episode ends Peter McGraw’s series on unconventional relationships–with an extension of a previous episode on singles and their pets. This episode was taped live as part of a charity event and comedy show in Denver. Peter is joined by Christie Buchele, one of the comics and a cat owner, and by Christina Martinez, a dog owner and soon-to-be familiar voice on the podcast. They discuss the results of a survey on singles and their pets. They also discuss the type of person who is the best fit for a dog, cat, or no pet. (Peter takes the “no pet” options, obviously.)
Listen to Episode #106 here
Singles And Their Pets – Live Show
This episode ends our short series on unconventional relationships with an extension of a previous episode on singles and their pets. This was taped live as part of a charity event and comedy show in Denver. I’m joined by Christie Buchele, one of the comics and a cat owner, as well as by Christina Martinez, a dog owner and soon-to-be a familiar voice on the show. I present the results of a survey of singles and their pets that I previewed in the previous episode with Lisa Curry. My guests and I discussed the type of person who is the best fit for a dog, cat or no pet. I take the no pet option, obviously. If you stick around to the end, we give advice to people who are contemplating having a pet or are new pet owners. I hope you enjoy the episode. Let’s get started.
Our first guest is Christie Buchele. She is a standup comic and has been featured on Viceland’s Flophouse, Hidden America with Jonah Ray, Laughs on Fox, 1st Look on NBC. She’s performed at Limestone Comedy Festival in Bloomington, Denver Zone High Plains Comedy Festival, and 208 in Boise. She co-hosts a relationship advice podcast called Empty Girlfriends. Welcome, Christie.
Thank you so much. I’m so happy to be here. This is my favorite topic, being alone. I’ll talk about it forever.
Our second guest is Christina Martinez. Christina is the Director of Marketing for Scott’s Liquid Gold. She’s an outdoor enthusiast, a Denver local and an old soul with hobbies focused on old car restoration, woodworking and animal welfare. She’s also a past and forthcoming guest on the show. I’m going to put a little bit of a shout-out for her Instagram account @RusticRoaming, where you can see her old soul activity.
We also went to high school together. I wanted you to get the background info.
This will be a little more spicy than I anticipated. Why don’t we start by talking about your pets? Christie, why don’t you start?
I have two cats. They are sisters, Miyagi and Khaleesi. One is like a tuxedo cat and one is a snowshoe Siamese. They’re my best friends. They are great. They’re awesome.
They’re the reason you are on this show now.
They are the reason I am a lot of things. They’re the whole reason why I make money, just to feed them. I need motivation.
Christie will be taking the cat perspective and Christina will be taking the dog perspective. Tell us about your dog.
This is my dog being a Lion King now in the second row. Cue the music, Circle of Life. He’s ten. He’s a Chiweenie, the Dachshund-Chihuahua mix. He’s getting old and crotchety. He’s been with me since he was the size of a hamster. He also sleeps on my bed.
If it’s not obvious, I’ll be taking the no-pet perspective here. I want to start by sharing some results from a survey that I ran. I’ve started a new project called Single Insights: The Science of Solos. As part of that, I do surveys looking at things that no one else is looking at. I surveyed 250 single pet owners and partnered pet owners to see if they are different in any ways. I’m going to run some of the results by my guests and get their responses to them. I asked a variety of questions about why they own a pet, their relationship with their pet, how their pet affects their lifestyle and so on.
The first thing about it is we anticipate major differences in some ways. For example, I ran a Twitter poll that found that 2 to 1 people expect singles to sleep with their pet in their bed. I said, “Who’s more likely to sleep with their pet in bed?” I see people shaking their heads. While your intuition was right, they both are likely to have their pets sleep in their beds. 61% of singles and 66% of partner people let their pet sleep in their bed.
I don’t have an option. I’m like, “How do you do that?” That might be more indicative of my own personal boundaries as a person but they never gave me an option. That’s not how I felt about it. That’s amazing.
I should have reworded that as, “Don’t stop your pet.”
Mine is intentional. He’s 10 inches off the ground. I have to lift his butt.
Related to this, people spend a lot of money on their animals, including ramps sometimes to save them the lifting element to this.
I bought Snoop a ramp. He’s too bougie to use it. He’d rather me lift him so I returned it.
I’ve seen that where they get it and the dog was like, “What? You’re going to make me walk up there?”
Yes, he only looked at me.
Some other similarities between singles and non-singles, I like saying non-singles, it makes them seem like the wrong ones.
They are the other.
I’m going to say singles and non-singles here. Non-singles, being partnered with people. They were likely to bring their pets into stores on errands. It’s very low numbers though. It’s 7% for singles and 11% for non-singles.
When I had my dog nephew lived with me, Taco, I would take him places but the cats can’t. He pushed for it and I was like, “I can’t hurt them emotionally. It would be so mean,” but I want to take them everywhere. That would be the best thing that ever happened to me. I want them everywhere I am. That would be the best but no. I have seen one cat on South Broadway that’s very well-trained. The cat’s name is Baby and the dad plays pinball and he takes the cat. The cat has a little shelf and plays pinball and hangs out on top of the pinball machine.
They love it. They try to grab it.
They’re like, “Lights.” They love it. I was like, “That’s the dream. I need it. Next time I have a cat, we’ll train them.” It’s too late now.
I’ve taken Snoop to the movies. Not all the time but I have.
What is his favorite film?
I don’t know. He just cuddles up on my lap.
Another one, singles versus non-singles were as likely to report spoiling their pets. This was a high number. What do you think that number is?
I’m going to go with 89%.
I think Christie took this survey. It’s 76% and 77% respectively spoil their pets. I asked a more aggressive question which was, “Do you take better care of your pet than yourself?”
Yes. As I told you, I have a rockstar for breakfast. I do take better care of them but that’s not a big sleepover that they’re doing.
Is it marginally better?
Their life is better but not a lot. I don’t know. I can’t even really spoil them. My cats are weird to where I buy them treats and they’re like, “What is that?” If I get them a catnip, they like it for two seconds then they don’t like it. They want wet foods. That’s the only spoiling I can do, but then they also puke the wet food because they eat it too fast. There’s no winning. One of my cats pukes dry food and one pukes wet food. This is a lot of information. I can’t spoil either one of them. I’m fine.
My dog is used to a life of luxury and he doesn’t puke up anything.
Christina, how do you spoil Snoop?
How do I not spoil Snoop? First of all, when I go out of town, he gets almost even more spoiled. He stays at grandma’s house and she makes custom scrubs for him. She’s very into some holistic stuff about things that are good for his skin. He comes back smelling wonderful. He almost turns his nose up to me. At my house, he always has a fluffy blanket. He gets a treat morning and night. He gets a walk. He sits there all day while I work on my computer.
It’s a nice life. Let’s talk about some areas where there were differences between singles and non-singles. One of the questions I asked is what is the most important reason you keep a pet? The options were companionship, love/happiness, meaning/purpose, protection and others. I have a feeling that neither of you is going to say protection.
Companionship and then love and happiness? How is it different? How do you classify those two? I know they’re not exactly the same but okay. Are you asking what the result is?
What you would choose first?
I would pick companionship.
That’s what I would pick too. It’s funny though as a cat person or maybe I would pick love. I think with the cat thing, I’m like, “They don’t care about you. You only want something so you’re not alone in your place.”
Mine do though. I get that there are cats like that. Mine are obsessed with me. They’re like, “This lady is the best.” They don’t like anyone but me.
We all think that about our pets.
They really don’t. They won’t go up to anyone else but me. If I die, they’re coming too because I don’t think they’re going to accept love from anyone else.
You both said companionship, which is in line with the majority of singles. Sixty-seven percent of singles said companionship versus 44% of partner people. It was the reverse for love/happiness. That was the next most popular for singles, 25% versus 47% for partnered people.
They have a companion. It makes sense.
It doesn’t mean they’re happy with the companion that they have.
You’re right. It’s a good point.
The other difference was to the question, which best describes your relationship with your pets? The options were my best friend, a friend, my child, my protector, my employee and others.
Best friend, absolutely.
I was going to say best friend too.
I’m not in charge of them. I’m not their parent at all. If anything, I might be their God. They’re like, “She brings the food,” but not a parent for sure. They’re my best friends.
I went with my best friend also.
The two of you are also in line with most singles. I classified best friends or friends together. Eighty percent of singles said that best describes their relationship with their pet. That was 63% for non-singles. You find the reverse for my child.
Did you ask the coupled people what percentage of their spouses are their best friends? I bet their pet tired.
We’re going to get to that similar question in a moment, Christina. I could tell Christina is in marketing. Only 14% of single people said my child and that was 30% for partnered people. I think this is a very interesting question. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the news but the Pope, I don’t know if it was an announcement or a speech, said that people who choose to have pets instead of children are selfish.
He did and he worded it very misogynistic. I wish I could quote it now.
I think he said, “Women.”
He was like, “How dare women take away the opportunity for patriarchy or something.”
It was on us for not having the kids and wanting the pets.
Also, taking away an experience from the fathers.
To call that selfish, read a book about global warming, my friend. We should not be populating anymore.
I don’t care. I don’t want to do it.
That’s another reason these two are on stage now. Let’s talk a little bit about dating. If you spend any time on dating apps, invariably, you’re going to come across a lot of people who talk about their pets and express preferences. One of the common phrases is, “Must love dogs,” which translates into you must love my dog. Other people will go as far as saying, “My dog will go on all of our dates.” It’s usually a dog, not a cat. There’s no warning in front of that. Some people will get even further and go, “You will always be second to my dog.” These folks get left swipes from me. Do they get left or right swipes from you?
I’m fine if they have a pet. When I see a guy with a cat, I’m like, “Okay.” It’s a catch-22 because they like cats and I’ll have to get over that like, “You like cats,” but I’m also like, “We can’t have three cats.” I’m already fast-forwarding to moving in and I’m like, “We can’t have three cats. That’s terrible.” I get stuck right there in that. Dogs are fine. That’s normal but three cats, we cannot do in Denver. We won’t have a big enough apartment for three cats.
Does that get a left swipe?
I’d like to see people with pets in general. It doesn’t matter what kind. For me, it shows that they care about anything other than themselves. It doesn’t usually have an indicator but I do appreciate it when guys are allergic to cats because I’m like, “Let’s not even think about that.”
Let’s get the heartbreak out of the way.
It’s a right swipe. I love my dog probably more than you. It’s only mutual.
People will also use their animals in pictures as a lure, knowing that some people will care more about the animal. Do you have your pets in your dating app profile pictures?
I added mine but I wasn’t using it as an asset for sure. Cats are more of a dark secret. I love them but I understand that not everybody does. I do not mind if they say they love their animal more than their partner because I feel that way about stand-up. I’m like, “Good. You’re going to have to make room for comedy.” I feel that way even with guys that have kids. I’m like, “Great. You can have your own thing over there and I’ll do my thing. Keep it separate.”
How many pictures of your cats do you have?
I have one.
Is it with both cats?
You got to put one. That’s part of your life.
How many do you have?
Is it early or late? Do you lead with it or do you follow?
No. It’s maybe third.
I asked these singles and non-singles if they had to choose between their pet or their partner, what would they choose? It’s not a totally fair question because it’s a real partner versus an imaginary partner. It was certainly the biggest difference in the survey. Twenty-four percent of non-singles said they would choose their pet over their partner, which I want to go on record and say that’s 1 in 4.
I don’t think that’s crazy.
That’s already a striking number. It was three times that for a single. Seventy-eight percent of singles said they would choose their pet over a partner.
I just realized I’ll know what love is one day. If I do love them more than my pet, that’s the litmus. This is helpful for me. Thank you.
I would pick my pet. No question. I went through a big breakup and two weeks later, my dog got out. It was way more traumatic that my dog got out when I broke up with someone after six and a half years. Not that wasn’t traumatic but I was really upset about the second one.
I’ve been dating somebody. They would come home and the way that they treat the cats eventually, I’ll be like, “You’re out.” If they even give attitude, I’m like, “You’re gone. See you later. I don’t like it.”
That’s a good segue. I want to ask a little bit of advice you would give for people who are either dating with pets or dating without pets but dating people who have them. One is to be keen on how you treat them.
If you’re like, “Get out of here. You’re gross.” I’m like, “You get out of here. Excuse me.” I also think it’s not bad to try and at least bring people around because I do think you’ll see a little bit of maybe your own shortcomings. My roommate is also a comedian. He has a joke about dating girls with dogs. He likes dogs but a lot of times, he’ll go over. If the dog isn’t trained well and it’s a nightmare, he’s like, “I can’t date her because of her dog.” I think there are a lot of guys shaking their heads now. I do think it’s important to include them or see how it works.
Is this early or later? Do you wait to be introduced?
I would love to say that I wait a long time before somebody comes homes with me but no.
If they’re in your place, you’re meeting your pet.
Early on, I’d rather know if you don’t like cats or they’re going to be mean to my cats.
Christina, what about you? Any best practices or advice?
I would say the same. I would watch how anybody treated any animal but they don’t meet my pet on the first day. My dad’s here.
What date is it when they meet?
At least third.
Anything else in terms of best practices?
It’s the same thing. I have dated someone that I didn’t love their dog. It wasn’t my vibe, even though I love pets. It wasn’t interactive and it would growl at you. It’s weird and stuff but you got to be nice to him. That pet has been around with them forever.
What if your pet and their pet don’t get along?
I’ve never had that.
Snoop is perfect.
I’m always like, “How is your dog around cats?” We then can talk but I do get nervous.
Who has the nicer place? I guess someone’s pet is getting left at home.
You can leave the cats. That’s the beauty of cats. I have a camera on them. I almost brought the camera. We didn’t have a projector so that I could do my jokes for the cats because I can talk to the camera, then they’re like, “What’s happening?” I got sad because I was like, “My cats will never see my comedy. They are my best friends.” I was having a day.
I will bring your cat to a show.
They wouldn’t like it but I would have liked the opportunity to do comedy through the camera and they would have been like, “What’s happening? Where is she? What’s that?”
Hopefully or they would walk away.
They would probably be like, “We’re going to go to sleep. We know these jokes.”
There are people who are contemplating a pet. I want to talk a little bit about what’s the best-fit personality lifestyle-wise for a dog, a cat, and I’m going to be taking the no pet.
I don’t know. I’ve been seeing you.
I’m not anti-dog. I just don’t want one for myself. As I say, I’m not anti-marriage. I just don’t want one for myself. Who would like to begin? What is the best personality or the best lifestyle fit for a dog or cat? I’m talking about the person.
You got to love to cuddle. It’s somebody who’s gone a little bit more. That’s the perfect type of cat person because they can be a little bit more independent and you can leave them for a few days. The main reason I have cats instead of a dog is I can leave them. It’s a way to have a pet that you can still travel. Dogs are so much more needy. Also, if you liked validation from a difficult being like your dad, cats can replace that easily. You’re like, “They don’t like anybody but they like me. This is healing a lot of wounds.”
Can I roughly translate this? If you have daddy issues, cats are good.
I think so. “Did you have a parent who left? Get a cat.” They’re independent and you’re independent. That’s more of a good cat person.
She used a word that I was trying to avoid. I was like, “I don’t know how else to say it,” but maybe if you are more needy, you’re a dog person because they want to be near you and they need you to reciprocate the whole time. If I’m honest, that’s why I love my dog because he’s always right there being like, “Hi.” “It’s okay. You look fine.”
If I can roughly translate, if you’re codependent, you should think about a dog.
I have a co-dependent relationship with my dog.
Can we get a round of applause if you have a co-dependent relationship with your pet?
I do too.
That was about a third of the room. Anything else personality-wise or lifestyle-wise?
If you’re not the person that’s like, “I need to go on adventures.” If you’re more of an indoor kid, cats. I love not having to take them for a walk.
I’m like, “I think everybody loves dogs.” I know that’s not true but dogs suit a lot of different types of people.
I’ll make a case for no pet, if I may and I’ll do it in two. One is I think if you’re overly tidy, the pet might be a challenge. This constant cleanup with hairs.
You got to get a Roomba. My Roomba runs every morning.
The other one is I have a friend Mark who had a dog for many years. One day, we were on the phone and he said, “Peter, there’s nothing like coming home to your dog. The love is overwhelming how excited they are to see you.” I said, “Be that as it may. I don’t want to have to come home.” I think that if even taking Christie’s point about independence, being on the road and so on, if you are one of those people who treat your house as a place to sleep and occasionally entertain, it’s not fair to the pet. As wonderful as they may be, you might want to wait until a different stage in life to do that.
If you also don’t have either money because animals are expensive or you don’t have a support system, like you what you were saying, Christina. You can bring Snoop to grandma as you go on your adventures and so on. Let’s close with a little bit of advice beyond this for singles who are considering a pet beyond the choice of dog or cat or something else. For those of you who are reading at home, we had a comedy show prior to this. We found out that chinchillas poop 250 times a day.
I was like, “Who is recording this?”
We’re not going to make a case for chinchillas. What advice do you have for someone who’s considering keeping a pet? Where to start?
I would say get pet insurance. It’s going to be good for you. Look at your life. Cats are so much easier to fit into your life. You don’t have to feel such a jerk because they’re fine without you. They’re like, “Cool. Whatever.” They’re excited when I get home. I know for a fact because of the camera that they were fine.
She was checking underneath the table here while we were doing the show.
I think the pet insurance and being able to make sure you can take care of them and that you’d have people there to help in some emergency or if you need to go to town or have somebody pop in, that’s super important. Also, going, visiting, and spending time with them to get good vibes. I feel like you can tell once you meet an animal like, “This one is good with me.” You do have to take time and pay attention to the vibe.
Can I ask the audience through clapping, was it love at first sight with your pet? Did you just know?
Mine were rescued. There were three of them. There are three sisters and they sent me pictures of two. They’re like, “There are two that looked like this and one that looks like this.” I was like, “You can’t send me pictures of both of them.” That’s how I ended up with two. I only wanted one but I couldn’t pick. I was like, “I’m connecting emotionally and spiritually with both these pictures.”
This is a photo.
Yeah, and I gave my best friend, Sabrina the third cat. I have to be able to keep tabs on the third one. I can’t separate them.
It’s okay to use your gut and your feelings when making this choice?
As long as you know that your life has room for it. There needs to be a lot more research on a dog, that breed and what they’re going to need and what they expect. Cats have no breeds. They’re trash monsters. They’re street people. They do have a temperament but it’s a nurture thing, not a nature thing.
Yes, if you’re asking me if it was love at first sight. I also saw Snoop’s photo and was like, “That one’s mine.” I paid the adoption fee in a Mexican food parking lot.
It sounds like a drug deal.
It was. He was so little and I didn’t expect it. I was like, “Where is he?” He was in their hand and it was this magical moment. He wasn’t what I expected but I wasn’t getting to leave him. It is love at first sight. I would say if you’re looking into getting a dog as you mentioned, the breed is a big deal. I had gone towards a smaller for the first time because I had in my past had like a chow, a Dalmatian and an Australian shepherd. All these huge dogs, to your point, with tons of hair that were over in my house. Also knowing my lifestyle, I needed a smaller one for the foreseeable future. I was moving downtown. I wasn’t going to have a huge yard. There’s a lot more to consider when you think about having a dog.
Is it fair to say for dogs or people who are looking at having a dog, you should choose the type of dog you want, then go looking?
If you’re not careful, you’re going to fall in love with a monster.
That’s how I had the German shepherd mix. I got a problem and I was like, “What am I going to do with you?” I made it work. We made it work.
The size of the dog matters. There has to be some temperament, the breeding and how aggressive they are or how friendly they are.
I think if you have kids, you probably want a mix that doesn’t nip and all those.
What about obtaining the pet? People would buy an animal. It’s my understanding that pet shops and stuff generally are to be avoided. Suddenly, everybody in the world is rescuing dogs. What is that? Is that like they’re going to the SPCA and saving them or is this something you put on your Instagram account to get more likes?
#AdoptionDay is a thing but also, a lot of pets like in New Mexico and different areas get trucked into different states because they can’t handle how many strays there are. There are a lot of strays that aren’t fixed so they’re populating. If those areas get overwhelmed, some of them get euthanized. It’s better to help a shelter clear out a spot so they can keep taking in more than taking a dog that’s special bread that someone’s only making more as there’s demand.
This idea of a mutt versus some bred dog. Should that be a consideration?
There’s the lifelong thing. People say that mutts are more hearty. I think it’s probably true. I don’t know. That could be a total myth. I will have no clue and just totally lean into it.
I’ve seen that in my life.
We’re getting feedback from the audience that mutts are healthier.
That is a great point. Someone yelled out foster and we do want to say Kids ‘n’ Pets as a brand, I work for them. We support a big foster dog community. It’s true that if you maybe already have two cats and you don’t want three cats but you can take a cabin for three weeks while they have a spot to get cleared so the animal doesn’t get put down because there’s not enough space to get taken care of. It’s a great option if you have a little bit more room for someone.
It sounds like fostering would be a great way to try out pet ownership.
It’s true. You see it all the time. People call them foster fails. They don’t expect them to be there forever and they decide to keep them.
The love kicks in. The only thing I would add to this, and this has already come up, is to make sure you can afford this pet. For some people, one of the worst things that you could do is get to a situation where you can’t keep this animal. You’re having a hard time supporting yourself.
I’m going to add to that. How my cats came to me is I did a post on Facebook or something. A friend of a friend was like, “We found some cats. They got rescued with her mom.” It was perfect timing. Sometimes I feel like the perfect pet does land in your lap in a lot of ways and you can follow.
You put it out into the universe.
I believe in that. Your little soulmates are going to find you.
This is the second episode about singles and their pets. I wanted to do this as a live event in order to bring single people together and bring their pets together. As I said, I’m not a pet owner. I had a dog as a child and I understand this.
He’s only telling us that so we don’t think he’s a sociopath.
I understand it. They are love machines. In many ways, dogs have been built for this and cats have foisted themselves upon us with the same outcome, whether it is to provide people with companionship or love and happiness or to get them out of the house, to get them moving, to help their dating lives. There are lots of reasons that people do it. There are very good reasons rather than following this path that the world lays out for us, which is to find that partner, couple up, and ride the relationship escalator.
Get a dog and two years later, have a kid.
I think it’s wonderful that people find alternative ways to bring joy, purpose and meaning into their life. In many ways, it goes against the stereotype of the selfish single. To keep a pet in some ways is selfish because of the love, but in some ways, it’s incredibly unselfish. This animal needs you in ways, especially those dogs who need you in profound ways. I wanted to find ways to support this endeavour and to have a conversation around this. I wanted to say thank you to my cat representative Christie.
Thank you so much for having me.
Thank you to my dog representative, Christina.
Thanks to all of you for joining us. This is wonderful.
- Christie Buchele – Instagram
- Christina Martinez
- A Remarkable Single and Her Pet with Lisa Curry – Previous episode
- Empty Girlfriends
- Scott’s Liquid Gold
- @RusticRoaming – Instagram
- Single Insights: The Science of Solos
About Christina Martinez
Christina Martinez is the Director of Marketing for Scott’s Liquid Gold. She’s an outdoor enthusiast, a Denver local and an old soul with hobbies focused on old car restoration, woodworking and animal welfare. She is also a past and forthcoming guest on the podcast. Check out her Instagram account @rusticroaming
About Christie Buchele
Christie Buchele is a standup comic and has been featured on Viceland’s, Flophouse; Hidden America with Jonah Ray; Laughs on Fox; First Look on NBC. Christie has performed on Limestone Comedy Festival in Bloomington, Denver’s own High Plains Comedy Festival and 208 in Boise. Christie co-hosts a relationship advice podcast, Empty Girlfriend.