What do you get when you combine a Boston accent, a pet rescue, ‘90s pop stars and talking dog videos? Just our favorite viral videos on the world wide web starring Jewel the Boston Terrier. We honestly don’t remember how or where it started but Jewel just began popping up on our Facebook feed. From the very first, “Hi, Everybody!” we were hooked.
Jewel is a spunky, 14-year-old, tiny Boston terrier with, you guessed it, a Boston accent. She chronicles her adventures with her Pops, watching the Pats gets “touchy downs” in the “Supper Bowl.” She’ll occasionally “open up a can of whoopty doo” on some renegade dog without a leash or share the trials and tribulations of her brother Blu getting his “teefers” cleaned at the vet and getting cookies at the “aminal hospital.”
One Wednesday, Jewel even mentioned the Harrington sisters in her video. It was then we knew we had to get to the bottom of the story. In our recent interview with Todd “Pops” Golz, we learned how Jewel came to live with him, how she got her name and Todd’s reaction to Jewel's internet fame.
Passionistas: Tell us what you do for a living.
Todd Golz: I am a veterinary assistant. I work at the Kingston Animal Hospital. And I've been doing that for just a little over 10 years.
Passionistas: How did you get into that?
Todd Golz: It's actually a funny story. It was supposed to be a temporary job. I was working in insurance prior to that. I was handling damage claims and I was laid off from my job. I was desperately looking for something. I just happened to send my resume to the Kingston Animal Hospital — I had been bringing my pets there for years – and they hired me. It was supposed to be part-time, temporary. I was going to work there until I could find something else. I liked it so much and love the people that I work with, which was kind of wild for me because I usually you don't. I didn't really love a job prior to that but I love this job. Ten years later, I'm still there.
Passionistas: That's so great. So what do you do as a veterinary assistant? What are your main responsibilities?
Todd Golz: I see patients, I do vaccines, restraint, stuff like that. Basically whatever the vet asks me to do, I'm there.
Passionistas: So when and how did Jewel come into your life?
Todd Golz: I went into a pet store even as much against the pet store as I am. I went into a pet store to buy a toy for the dog that we already had which was also a Boston Terrier actually. And she was in one of the cages and she just kept staring at me. So I asked the kid there if I could hold her own. He said yes. So I was holding her and she was kissing me and that was that. That was in 2004. On the ride home, I was trying to figure out what to name her and "Who Will Save Your Soul" by Jewel came on the radio. And there you go.
Passionistas: So what other other pets do you have?
Todd Golz: I have a Pit Bull mix named Blu. And I have a black lab who's blind. His name is Jade. They're both rescues from Missouri.
Passionistas: From Missouri? How did they get to you?
Todd Golz: Well, the black lab, my wife found on Petfinders.com. And then I was doing research on where she came from and I came across the name of the rescue group. So I sent them an e-mail and then we just kept corresponding. Then next thing, I saw Blue on their website and I just kept going back to him for some reason. There was something about him. And so I put my name in to adopt him and he's been with us since then.
Passionistas: He's a beautiful dog. Will Blu ever speak?
Todd Golz: Everybody asks me that. I'm thinking about it. He does have his own Facebook page — Blu the Rock Star Pit Bull.
Passionistas: We'll be following that. So tell us about the reaction you're getting to the Jewel videos and what your reaction is to that reaction.
Todd Golz: Well, I was actually surprised because... the first time I came across the app, I was like, "Oh, this could be fun." And just as a joke, I put it out on the Animal Hospital Facebook page. It was short and it was addressed to Dr. Davis. And people just reacted to it. The next thing, they're asking for more videos. So one of my co-workers said, “You should do Wednesdays with Jewel.” And I said, “Oh, that's not a bad idea.” I did it.
It's actually kind of funny because if I don't make a video I get e-mails... "Is Jewel okay?" It's kind of funny but yeah I love it. I love their reaction. Especially when people say that it makes them smile. I think that's probably the best. I got a message saying I was having such a bad day and then I saw Jewel's video and you really perked me up. So stuff like that I like.
Passionistas: So tell us about the process of actually making the videos. So it's an app that you use?
Todd Golz: It's an app it's called My Talking Pet. And like I said it was just something that I found and I was just playing around with... It's really simple. You just take a picture of your pet and you put it on this app. And you just measure the eye and the mouth. The eyes move and the mouth moves with the voice. You record your voice and then you can change the pitch — however high or low you want it. The problem that I had was they did an update on it and they took the bar out of it so that you couldn't change the pitch. So I was like well this just doesn't sound like Jewel. I can't post any of this.
I sent the message to the company and I'm just asking them why they did it. I was kind of upset. But apparently other people were upset about it — some of the other people that were using the app. So they quickly changed it back to the way it was. She's back up and running again.
Passionistas: Obviously, there are other similar kinds of things online but the thing that makes Jewel videos so great besides the voice is that you're just so funny. Are you known as a funny person or is it just something that Jewel brings out in you?
Todd Golz: I'm like that in real life, too.
Passionistas: And do you script it ahead of time or do you just go off the cuff?
Todd Golz: I actually just go off the cuff. I'll sit there and I'll think about what I'm going to say but I don't write it down or anything. It just comes to me as I'm talking.
Passionistas: So funny. Do you have a long term goal for the videos or is it just something you do for fun?
Todd Golz: Yes, it's just something I'm doing for fun.
Passionistas: Can you at least make a line of Aminal Hospital t-shirts? Seriously.
Todd Golz: I had that request before.
Passionistas: It just needs a picture of Jewel and "Pops took me to the Aminal Hospital."
Todd Golz: That could happen.
Passionistas: Excellent. And coffee mugs wouldn't be a bad idea. Does Jewel get final approval on the videos?
Todd Golz: She doesn't care. She just says, "Yeah, whatever, Pops."
Passionistas: What does your wife think of all this?
Todd Golz: Oh, she thinks it's hysterical, too. She works in Boston and so on the train ride home, if I don't post the video on Wednesday, she will send me a text message from the train saying ,"Where's Jewel's video?" I'll say, "She didn’t make one yet." She's like, "You're going to get on this right away, her fans are waiting." She’s on me all the time, too.
Passionistas: How is Jewel's health?
Todd Golz: She has a heart condition. But we're keeping it regulated with medication. Other than that she's fine. You wouldn't know anything was wrong with her. You can see in her pictures that she does have hair loss and we just really don't even know why. She's been tested for Cushing's. And we've done a whole mess of blood work on her... That's why she has so many sweaters. But other than that she is she's fine.
Passionistas: That's awesome. Excellent. And it seems like she's been helping bring attention to the Kingston Animal Hospital... It’s seems like she's kind of a mascot.
Todd Golz: It seems like, pretty much, pretty much.
As the unofficial mascot of the Kingston Animal Hospital, Jewel will be a special guest this coming Sunday, May 5th as they celebrate the completion of their renovations. If you’re in the area, stop by and give her a cookie. In the words of Jewel herself, “Be there or be triangle… ah, square.” Find more info here.