Neighbors Appreciate Canadian Woman's Bistro For Dogs Kaya Kristina lives next to a huge park in Toronto. Several years ago she began putting water bowls outside for neighborhood dogs to enjoy. After the pandemic hit, she started putting out treats too.

Neighbors Appreciate Canadian Woman's Bistro For Dogs

Neighbors Appreciate Canadian Woman's Bistro For Dogs

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/994145520/994145521" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Kaya Kristina lives next to a huge park in Toronto. Several years ago she began putting water bowls outside for neighborhood dogs to enjoy. After the pandemic hit, she started putting out treats too.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Toronto has plenty of good restaurants for humans. Now, though, there is an option for dogs - StarPups Cafe. Here's how it started. Kaya Kristina used to leave a bowl of water on her lawn for thirsty dogs.

KAYA KRISTINA: I started getting little notes in my mailbox saying, like, thank you so much. Our dog appreciates it so much.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

When the pandemic started, Kristina offered more - dog biscuits, beef liver bites, a treat of the day. Now, Kristina is not a morning person but wakes every day at 8 to stock the cafe.

KRISTINA: In my dreams already, if I'm sleeping late, I can think, oh, my God, those dogs are out there looking at my house (laughter). And it's heartbreaking.

KING: StarPups was a hit. Neighbors left more thank you notes, pictures of happy dogs. Kristina started an Instagram page of those photos.

KRISTINA: They'd see each other on Instagram and like - then they'd meet each other in the street and introduce themselves and be like, oh, I saw you on Instagram. And now they have walking partners.

KING: She's been surprised by the response.

KRISTINA: I didn't expect it to be so important to people. And it is. It's not just the dogs. It's the people behind them and the connections they've made.

INSKEEP: And those connections are important to her, especially now.

KRISTINA: I miss my parents. I miss my family. I so badly wanted a hug from somebody, and I was like, I don't know when the next time I'm going to get it is. I think I personally have healed through this, too, because of the feeling of like, OK, I have a community now.

INSKEEP: A community of two different species.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ OKAWARI'S "YOURS")

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.