The Wildest, Wrapped
Our first year in review, from top-read articles and celebrity features to most-popular Instagram and TikTok posts!
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Happy New Year, pet people! 2021 will forever be remembered as the year of social distancing, working from home...and pandemic puppies. It was also the year we launched The Wildest. Whether you’re a new pet parent or just need to brush up on the basics, we get that pet parenting can be both a magical time and a total nightmare. We’re here to help you keep your cool. It’s been a wild ride and we’re only getting started, but first, let’s rhapsodize about some of the highlights of the past year.
We got the band together! We tapped the best pet experts around the country to join our Collective, from Black DVM Network founder Dr. Tierra Price to celebrity dog groomer Jess Rona to NYC’s go-to dog trainer Robert Haussmann to LA certified cat counselor Cristin Tamburo. Watch this space because some new Collective members — pet nutritionists, sustainability gurus, rescue advocates, TV star trainers, and more — will be entering the fray in just a few weeks...
In collaboration with the Collective and other pet care pros, writers from diverse backgrounds covered the most common pet healthcare concerns, from out-of-control itching and state-of-the-art allergy treatments to Herculean hairballs and the first signs of the C-word. Plus, veterinarians chimed in on the importance of preventative care, human-grade food, and weight management for chonky cats and dogs.
By far, articles about behavior and training topped the most-read list in 2021. From decoding cat mysteries to teaching your dog to talk to explaining the weird phenomenon that is the zoomies (it’s science), we’ve got you. If you’re a proud new pet parent, you probably wondered how to help your cat or dog settle in, the right way to kitten- or puppy-proof your digs so it isn’t obvious you live with an animal, and whether you should DIY training or leave it to the pros.
Or maybe you’re pretty pet savvy but something sinister is afoot, like, oh, you know, your cat is stalking you or is on a litter box strike, or your dog is acting diabolical on the leash or freaks out when friends come over. A LOT of you are worried your pups will suffer separation anxiety (newsflash: cats do too) when you go back to work. Also, you’re not alone if it’s you that got attached during the pandemic.
So, your pet came with when you went home for the holidays. As if traveling wasn’t stressful enough, am I right? Thankfully, we hooked you up with travel tips for dogs and cats (and let you know the second Shay Mitchell’s pet carriers dropped). Because we get that being a pet parent is a lifestyle. If you’re moving, that means finding a pet-friendly rental. If you’re serious about self care, you might dig doga. And if your pet is your ride or die, why not wear your heart on your sleeve with a dog or “cattoo?”
Before you know it, it will be spring, and you (and your pet) can rock all the lewks that fashion icon Tika the Iggy “reviewed” as The Wildest’s NYFW correspondent. But it’s still Capricorn season. For aspiring pet parents reading this, Vogue astrologer Alice Bell divined the perfect breeds for each star sign. (Cats have a more bewitching history with the occult.) But hey, relationships are tricky, which is why we kicked off a relationship series and went there; namely, talked to experts and real pet parents about who gets the dog in a breakup, what to do if your cat’s sabotaging your new crush, and how to deal if you can’t stand your partner’s “pet voice.”
Speaking of series, we couldn’t be more psyched about Wild Ones, a column featuring creative people and their pets. Actor Taylour Paige talked to us about how her rescue dogs taught her about patience and presence; musicians SPELLLING and Sam Evian about touring with their pups; fashion designers Derek Lam, Ellen Dusen, and Caitlin Mociun about bringing their pets to their studios and shops; and artists Gary Baseman and Livia Fălcaru about being so inspired by their cats that they feature them in their work. We also caught up with wellness gurus Jasmine Hemsley, Alison Wu, and Kathryn Budig; rescue advocates Pia Baroncini, Nathan the Cat Lady, and Rebecca Corry; even an Olympian — check out Gus Kenworthy!
Lots of these pet-savvy stars — actor Kat Dennings, TikTok cat dad Abram Engle, and “Cat Rapper” Moshow, to name a few — even shared their pets’ favorite products with us. We consulted the experts on everything from new kitten and puppy essentials to the best interactive dog puzzles and “smart” cat toys. We not only went ham on Holiday Gift Guides, but also recco’d everything from carriers to crates, cat trees to dog treats, as well as eco-friendly products for dogs and cats (sustainability experts Dave Coast and Green Girl Leah chimed in too). Lest we forget the fashion: DSquared2, Collina Strada, Sandy Liang, and Lirika Matoshi all designed matching outfits for pets this past year. Find us something more Instagrammable — we’ll wait.
We’re also on Instagram and TikTok! On IG, we kicked off a couple of fun new series: “Real Pet Sh*t” with influencers Olivia Sui and Keith Leak Jr., and IG Lives where The Wildest Collective members answer pet parent questions, including cat behaviorist Cristin Tamburo and comedian Sydnee Washington (who also confessed that dance parties with her cats got her through the pandemic), and dog trainer Robert Haussmann and #PitBullFlowerPower photographer Sophie Gamand. Our most popular TikTok videos so far have been a breakdown of toxic foods for dogs (yikes) and signs your cat loves you (aw).
We couldn’t end the year without going into the wild. We hung out at New York City’s first dog-friendly cafe Boris & Horton and sprung for coffee for pet parents. Over on the West coast, we teamed up with dog park/social club Dog PPL on a how event and made it *snow* in Los Angeles. “First Snow” featured real powder trucked in from Big Bear Mountain, a holiday jazz band called The Cool Cats, a workshop where seamstresses stitched back together torn-up dog toys, a stocking stuffer station, and more.
Season One of The Wildest was pretty wild indeed, if we say so ourselves. Stay tuned for more expert advice, celebrity features, gift guides, IG Lives, TikTok videos, and (as soon as it’s safe to see you all IRL) events for pets and their people!
Samantha Gurrie is The Wildest’s editorial director. She was previously the senior editor at NYLON magazine, co-publisher of Four&Sons, and director at Puerto Rican dog rescue The Sato Project. She lives in L.A. with her husband and rescue Pit Bull mix Midnight.