Pets & Their People features ‘how we met’ vignettes of dogs and their humans, uncovering the particularities of this unique relationship, from touching adoption tales to outlandish quirks.
Meghan is the Brand Partnerships Visuals Director at Domino, as well as a color enthusiast, photographer and dog parent to Niles the Corgi. Team Wild One sat down with Niles and Meghan to chat home design for new pet parents, favorite neighborhood spots near their Williamsburg apartment and the great responsibility that comes with being a beloved Corgi frequently mistaken for an Australian Shepherd.
Wild One: Tell us about Niles! How did you two meet?
Meghan McNeer: Niles is a 7-month-old Welsh Corgi. He’s half Cardigan and half Pembroke, with blue Maryland coloring that often leads him to be mistaken for an Australian Shepherd mix.
We met through my sister. I had been toying with the idea of getting a dog for months, but my friends kept telling me that it was a crazy idea given how much I travel for work. My sister continuously encouraged me and ultimately found Niles online. At first, I felt like I wasn’t ready to have a dog, but then I received all of these photos of him from his birthplace in St. Louis and it was obvious that he was quirky and fun, filled with personality.
I also liked that he was from the midwest. I’m from Tulsa and my dad still lives there, so it made me feel close to my family. We were able to plan a little family road trip around Niles’ pick-up.
WO: How has your life changed since adding Niles to the family?
MM: I wanted a dog because I was looking for a life change, a motivator to overhaul my “go everywhere, say yes to everything” mentality. I’m such an extrovert and I was seeking routine. I used to travel too much, and my life was functioning at a crazy pace. My mornings involved waking up 30 minutes before work and speed getting ready after being up until 2am. Now, I’m a morning person. Niles and I get up at 7am for a long walk, have breakfast, the whole thing.
Having a dog is such a crazy social thing. I’ve lived in my apartment for eight years and only now am I making close friends in the neighborhood. Niles is so friendly and we know all of these dog-dog parent duos that we’ve met during walks.
Maybe the largest realization is that there’s this newfound level of responsibility. I have to think about another little creature everyday, requiring me to plan ahead and make decisions, like if he’s coming to work with me, if I need to call the dog walker, drop him at daycare, etc. I’ve also had to modify my crammed travel schedule. Basically, I brought this pup into my world and quickly realized he doesn’t know the rules. It’s my job to teach him about it, and I’ve since learned that negative conditioning and scolding are just not my style. He’s a capital “G” good boy, and I make sure he knows it!
Niles and his friend, Carol
WO: How did you choose the name Niles?
MM: I’m a Frasier enthusiast. Growing up I always watched it with my family, so it’s my comfort show. If I’m packing for a trip or cleaning my apartment, I’ll have Frasier playing in the background. It also felt right to name a Welsh dog a very proper name.
WO: Do you and Niles have favorite neighborhood spots?
MM: Of course! I like to tote him around with me, in my Wild One carrier or this little papoose thing I own. I’ll bring him to bars or restaurants and he’s so mellow and just falls asleep to the point where people don’t even know he’s there. We go to Lighthouse and The West a lot. The West is so friendly and always has treats, so it’s definitely a Niles favorite.
WO: Your work is in design and your home is so beautiful and unique. How has Niles influenced your apartment’s design?
MM: Working at Domino, I love to focus on design, patterns and color. I would definitely classify myself as a maximalist. When I got Niles, I was immediately excited to bring my personal style and home aesthetic to his products. I actually made a Google Slide presentation so I could lay out what I wanted my apartment to look like, from his feeder to his toys. It also served as a sort of registry list for my family because they were so excited to buy things for him.
When I first brought Niles home, I rolled up all of the rugs, knowing that a new puppy wasn’t going to do well with nice textiles. That first month of having him was pretty intense and I felt like a sleep deprived mom. But the 'chewing and peeing on everything' phase faded fairly quickly and now he’s pretty perfect. I put the rugs back down a few weeks ago and it’s been great so far.
I have owned this floral bean bag chair for a really long time. Corgis are known for flapping - they run a course and then jump into something. Niles will run around the apartment and then propel himself into the bean bag and he thinks it’s so funny, which it totally is. It’s fun to see him interact with items like that, bringing new life to things that have long been important to me.
*Editor’s note: Niles could not stop bouncing around on his Wild One bed during our shoot!
WO: Any tips for maintaining a beautiful home while raising a puppy?
MM: Edit everything out, and then add it back in. I would never have guessed that Niles would like to chew on my photo albums, but their corners seem to be a favorite snack of his. When I first brought Niles home, I unplugged all lamps from the outlets, trying to be responsible and think ahead, but he still munched on the cords. My point being that some puppy behaviors are unforeseeable. Clearing out valuables and anything particularly chewable was the best move. As he’s grown older and more comfortable in my space, he’s stopped chewing as much allowing me to slowly integrate items back in.
I think it’s important to manage expectations, a mindset that majorly helped me. This is an animal existing in a human’s world, and I have to make him feel comfortable. It doesn’t help to yell bad dog because he doesn’t know any better yet.
WO: Do you have a favorite Niles story or does he have any weird quirks?
MM: Niles is very social and is obsessed with other dogs and people. Our walks (with the Wild One Walk Kit) are absurdly long because he has to say hi to every dog on the street. He greets them by rolling onto his back and licking their face. Actually, the only time he barks is when another dog won’t play with him.
WO: It sounds like you travel for work a lot. How do you make this work with Niles?
MM: I bring him with me a lot! This is my first dog and I knew I needed a pup that could travel really well to suit my lifestyle. I have a pretty meticulous packing situation for Niles, which includes his pop-up bowls and some favorite toys. He also has some stylish, weather-contingent looks that I like to travel with, such as his raincoat. I generally bring a carrier along and then I’ll put him in my lap during the flight.
*Editor’s Note: check out Wild One’s new travel checklist for when you must leave the pup at home.
WO: Do you and Niles have a favorite color?
MM: I would have to say International Klein Blue, which is a version of cobalt.
WO: Do you have a voice for Niles?
MM: I think it has to be his namesake: Niles from Frasier. So I guess that means David Hyde Pierce.