Lauren Marnel Shores
Geenee and Snuggles are arguably the two most famous dogs in Isla Vista. Walking past iV Menus, passersby are often greeted by these excited pups; Snuggles watching from atop her perch, Geenee begging for attention near the gate, while Prince the cat is normally nearby.
A large group of girls walked past and squealed upon seeing the dogs, stopping in their tracks to excitedly shower them with attention.“They’re very popular,” said their owner, Patrick Galoustian. “Anywhere between 20-40 people visit a day.” As owner of the iV Menus delivery service, Galoustian said the pets help to attract business. “A lot of people like to come in and get their pet therapy on.”
Galoustian explained his inspiration for the dogs’ watchtower, relating how “a lot of people were walking by and reaching over to pet them. I thought it would be better if they could pop up and see people walking by. Sometimes they scare people, but they don’t mean any harm.”
Yet, for as many dog lovers who just want to play with these loving pooches, there are others who find amusement in these innocent pets’ pain.
“A lot of people mess with Geenee or hurt her for no reason,” lamented Galoustian. “They’ll pull on her hair, tail, ears. She’s really friendly, but now she’s a little intimidated.” He relayed how he would watch from his desk as people would run up to the fence and hit the animals for no reason.
“I’ve caught a lot of people hurting them,” Galoustian said. “One time a fraternity house, there were eight or nine of them, were all walking back and biggest one in the group, as he was walking by, smacked her. I tapped the guy on the shoulder and called him out as a big bully and his friend tried to attack me.” Another instance, he watched as someone hit the cat as they were skating by. “Once someone took him indoors and kept the cat, and he came back all drugged up.”
Galoustian explained that he doesn’t simply attribute the pets’ abuse to drunken partygoers, but an underlying disrespect that some have for animals.
“I think that sometimes when they’re under the influence, they’re more inclined to do things they wouldn’t do,” he said. “But still, that shows their nature. And sometimes people will be sober and they think they can just touch the dog.”
Galoustian described that when he deals with animals, he always remains conscientious that he is handling a life. He felt frustrated that he didn’t see more people have that same esteem for other creatures.
“Some people are very self entitled,” he stated, “so they have less respect for a dog than a human being. They think of it as a subcreature and think they can do whatever they want to it.”
Now, Geenee acts more cautious around some visitors. “She’s a little misunderstood because she’ll bark and growl at people just to let them know not to mess with her, but she wants to be petted. She wasn’t like that at first. It was probably my fault for letting her sit there without supervision. If I was there to watch people, people wouldn’t mess with her. And she wouldn’t get that negative experience. But I think because that happened she’s a lot more standoffish, but that’s not her fault. It’s because so many people hurt her.”
Despite her past mistreatments, Geenee has remained loving and playful, constantly begging for attention throughout the interview and reminding the group of her presence when she wasn’t being petted. “Geenee is a doberman, but she thinks she’s a toy poodle. She’s very snuggly.”
Each of the pets showed warmth towards Galoustian, appreciating the care he has provided each with over the years. All of his pets have been rescues. “Geenee was in a junkyard. She was literally going to die in three to five days before I found her. She was in such bad shape.”
He explained how when he saved Geenee, she was so sickly thin that he could wrap his fingers around her waist. As far as his part in Snuggles life, his friend had found the dog wandering around Isla Vista. The two tried to find her owner, but soon found out she had been given up. “Snuggles was just abandoned. The owner just couldn’t take care of her.”
“They’re all part of my family,” Galoustian said without hesitation. “I take better care of them then I take care of myself.”
May 5, 12:01 p.m.: This article has been updated for clarity.