Éva Goicochea is the co-founder and CEO of Maude, a modern sexual wellness company that has been featured in Vogue, Fast Company, and New York Times and is coming out with travel-size products. The New Mexico native and Everlane alumna currently lives in a light-filled Greenpoint, Brooklyn home with her husband, Ian (they co-founded Tinker Watches together), and four rescued senior pets: Colette the shih tzu, Addy the shih tzu, Bea the Persian cat, and Winnie the Persian cat.

Did you have pets growing up in New Mexico?

I did. I had a cat named Kitty when I was around five and then at nine, I got my first rescue dog, Buster, who was my absolute best friend. His family didn’t think he’d make the move well to Hawaii—he was very old and they put pets from the mainland in six-month quarantine—so we adopted him. With one tooth and being epileptic, he prepared me to take care of senior rescue pets later in life, and I think he’s why I have such a fondness for small dogs in particular.

“I honestly don’t know if we want human children. The pets are enough.”

What do you love about senior rescues?

Senior dogs and animals with health conditions are often so overlooked. I am a huge proponent of giving senior-slash-rescued pets an opportunity to live out their lives with love and dignity, just as humans deserve to do.

Éva and Ian Goicochea with their senior rescue pets.

How did your four (!) pets come into your life?

When Ian and I started dating, we volunteered together at Lhasa Happy Homes (LHH), a rescue [organization] in Los Angeles. Colette was our “foster failure,” as we call it. At the time, we already had two other shih tzus, Midge and Delila, and had no intention of getting a third. Colette was one of the most abused shih tzus they had seen—she would scream if you went near her—so the fact that she trusted us and was happy at our house was a miracle. When we went back to the rescue the following week for the Sunday adoptions, Colette started shaking. We knew we were her family, so we turned around and took her home. The rest is history.

LHH posted about Addy on their Facebook feed and it was horrifying: After her owner died, she was given to a coworker and they left her in the backyard to die after being attacked by their German Shepherds. She was an emaciated, hairless mess when they rescued her and LHH put out a call for donations and volunteers. We were in the middle of moving into our newly-bought house so we were super busy, but I saw the post and Ian and I decided to go visit Addy just to offer support to the rescue. As soon as Ian saw her, he fell in love. So, we then ended up with four shih tzus. They were all different colors so we called them the United Nations of Shih Tzus. Now we’re just left with Addy and Colette (Midge and Delila have since passed), but they’re happy little clams.

We also have two rescued Persian cats, Bea and Winnie. Bea is a tan colored grumpy cat from a rescue group in the Inland Empire. She was left in a bathroom for a year and is still a bit shy. Winnie, on the other hand, is a hyper-friendly black and white Persian who was put up on Craigslist after her owner became too senior to take care of her. She is an outgoing ham, always bringing the party.

Éva and Ian Goicochea with their senior rescue pets.

Did you and Ian always share a love for animals? Did you have pets when you first met?

Ian also loves animals and when he met me, I had four—from a previous relationship. The joke is that if you can find a partner who accepts you and loves you with four pets, better keep them.

What do you advise for people raising senior pets?

Having pets is an expensive endeavor, but completely worth it. My advice would be to invest in really high-quality food (this contributes so much to their health) like Honest Kitchen, [get] regular checkups, and always make sure to pay attention to allergies, changes in behaviors, et cetera, to always stay on top of their well-being.

Éva and Ian Goicochea with their senior rescue pets.

What is your daily schedule like, having four pets and being an entrepreneur?

I’ve built my schedule around pets since I was 19 (18 years) and they are my primary focus, though I don’t take them to work in case of team allergies. Since I have been with Ian for 10 years, it is easier to balance as we take turns and share responsibilities. Every day, we wake up early and give ourselves time to feed, walk, and hang out with the pets. During the weekday evenings, we typically don’t go out too much together so that one of us is home with them to go on a walk—they’re short walks as they’re little old ladies—and to feed everyone.

Most nights, all of the pets are piled into the bed: Colette sleeps on the bolster above our pillows, Addy between us, and the cats are at our feet. The dogs wear shoes outside and they all get regular baths in consideration of the fact that they always have to be near us. Truly snuggle bugs.

How do your cats feel about your dogs, and vice versa? Are they siblings?

They all get along, but Addy [dog] and Bea [cat] really love each other. We always say it’s because they sort of look alike: The tan twins!

How do they feel about making friends on their walks?

Given we have four of them, they seem to be okay not meeting anyone else. Every attempt to get them to meet dog strangers is always met with disinterest.

What are some of their nicknames?

Addy is Atticus, Dramaticus, Sadicus (she’s a baby), Agnes, Platypus, Schmatypus, and Abacus. Colette is Coletti, Coletti Boletti, Bear, Baby Seal, and Monkey Doodle. Bea is Queen Bea, Cardi Bea, Beatle, and Beezus. And Winnie is Winnie the Moo, Winifred, and Win-Win!

Those are great nicknames. Good inspiration fodder for the rest of us when we’re whispering to our pets at night. Your apartment is impeccably decorated. How do you keep it so spotless?

It’s very monochromatic and simple with durable furniture and nothing too precious. We find that if we’re going to have a lot of animals and a busy life in New York, having a peaceful yet resilient home helps keep us sane.

Éva and Ian Goicochea with their senior rescue dogs, Colette and Addy.

How do you extend your good taste to your pets?

We usually buy human items for them or go with tried-and-true classics. These are the pillows in our TV room, the therapeutic bed in the living room is from L.L.Bean, their carry totes are from Land’s End, and their Bauhaus plates [used as food bowls] are from CB2. We also recommend Feed Me, a dog recipe book for home cooking and Earthbath 2-in-1 Mango Tango Conditioning Dog & Cat Shampoo.

A lot of dog owners identify with their dogs in some way. The joke is that when they talk about their dogs, they actually mean themselves. Do you identify with your dogs or think of them as your children?

Absolutely. All Ian and I do is talk about the animals—we’re obsessed with them like they’re our children and would do anything for them. I honestly don’t know if we want human children. The pets are enough.

You are a branding expert. Can you share some resources for aspiring entrepreneurs who are figuring out how to brand their company?

I scan siteInspire and Typewolf almost daily and I think they’re great resources to start to put to paper what you’re looking to create in a brand. Column Five Media has a great step-by-step to creating a brand book once you’ve started to understand where you want to go.

Photography by Tayler Smith

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