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From Activities to Activism: What Tika the Iggy Wants Dog Owners to Know

If only you knew what went on in your dog’s head. Well, apparently Montreal-based dog owner Thomas Shapiro does! In fact, he’s so connected with his Insta-famous Italian Greyhound, Tika — known to her followers as Tika the Iggy (@tikatheiggy on Instagram) — that he was able to translate her barks into plain English so we could get the latest scoop, from her favourite food and activity to important causes she supports.

Tikka the IggyPhoto credit: Tika the Iggy

During this pandemic, I’m sure you’ve been spending much more time at home. Who do you live with, and what have you been up to?

I love a good adventure, but I’m definitely a homebody. I live with my two dads and we’ve been keeping busy by always making sure my wardrobe is up to date. Pandemic or not, I have to look good!

With things starting to return to “normal” across the country, how can dogs and their owners stay safe and healthy this summer?

Even before the pandemic, my dads would always give my paws a wipe down after a walk. I think going forward this is a good idea for most owners to do. I also don’t interact with too many strangers on my walks, which keeps outside contact to a minimum.

What’s on the schedule for this summer?

I love sun tanning — I try to get as much sun as possible (when directly in the sun, I also wear baby sunscreen). My dads love going to the cottage on weekends, so I’ll be heading to the lake several times throughout the warm months. I do love trying to steal some ice cream from my dads when they get some, which is quite frequently these days.

Okay, we’re dying to know — what’s your favourite treat?

My favourite all-time food has got to be chicken. Hands down. But I’d have to give a special shout out to cucumber, watermelon, cheese, and red peppers. I guess those would be my top five.

As a Montreal native, do you have a favourite park or place you like to visit on your walks?

As a resident of the Southwest borough, I love visiting Angrignon Park. The 97-hectare green space has ponds, picnic tables, bike paths, walking trails, and of course a dog park. I also love visiting my local cafés, including Yo & Co Espresso Bar, Café Lali, and DoggieVille.

What’s an important cause you want pet owners to know about?

As a self-proclaimed gay icon, I make sure it’s known that tolerance and acceptance are two values I hold in the highest regard. My Instagram page is a safe space for everyone, especially the LGBTQ2+ community. One organization that my dads and I have donated to in the past is the Rainbow Railroad, which is a Canadian charitable organization that helps lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals escape violence and persecution in their home countries.