Who’s your Fred?: Ghost and Wren
If you’re a city-based pet parent, you know that urban landscapes aren’t exactly dog-friendly. Still, with a little ingenuity, creative talents like Toronto-based artist Shauna Eve have managed to thrive alongside their dogs in a big, noisy metropolis.
Shauna is a Toronto-based filmmaker with a background in visual art and the curator behind Ghost + Wren, an iconic Instagram account dedicated to two impossibly well-dressed Italian greyhounds. JUST FRED reached out to Shauna to talk all things art, style, dog sweaters, and how her dogs, Ghost and Wren, inspire her creative work.
JUST FRED: Introduce us to your world and distinctive aesthetic—and please share how your IG account was born.
Shauna: During Covid, I took advantage of the downtime to raise a pair of Italian greyhound puppies named Ghost and Wren. As a creative outlet, I started a pup Insta, more as a private joke, but it quickly took off.
Italian greyhounds need protective clothes for sun, cold, and brambles when running in the woods, so I had inadvertently trained them to happily tolerate costumes and outfits while dressing them in more practical dog clothes.
JUST FRED: Is that where the adorable dog sweaters come in?
Shauna: Exactly. The more time I had, the more the outfits grew to be cosplay and a little silly. It was a way to share some humor and levity with our growing followers. It became a bonding time with the dogs too. They love a good game, and getting treats for holding still for a few minutes in costume while I’m cracking up—it really was as much fun for them as it was for me!
JUST FRED: And people love it, right?
Shauna: Over the years, I’ve had such amazing messages from people dealing with illness or isolation, parents with kids, or folks who just loved the humor. They found the posts to be a welcome distraction and the most lighthearted part of their day. It felt good to be able to share with others everything the dogs were giving me.
“Ghost and Wren make me laugh so much, and I’m happy to be able to share that gift with others.”
JUST FRED: Are your dogs different in terms of personality from one another? How do they get along and communicate?
Shauna: Ghost and Wren are SO different! Wren is such a sweet little gentleman, a total mummas boi, while Ghost is a wild little frisky pony, very stubborn but infinitely gentle.
“Ghost is the outgoing one… Wren prefers to be our shadow.”
Ghost is the outgoing one: she leads the way when we’re meeting people, dogs, or running trails. And Wren is very attentive to where my partner and I are, and really prefers to be our shadow. They rub off on each other in great ways: she helps him be braver, he helps keep Ghost remember to check in with us and walk better on leash.
Wren is very concerned about puppies, too. If he hears one crying, even in a movie, he will try to go to it to comfort it. Ghost, for all her stubborn free spirit, is so happy to run into children and babies, immediately becoming a gentle puppy around them.
JUST FRED: What’s it like to live in the city with dogs?
Shauna: Toronto is a very busy city, but the dogs have no problem with city noise or all the wild and wonderful people, vehicles, and unexpected objects and events that go along with city life.
Our favorite places to go in the city are High Park, Bluffers Beach during the off season, and Fetchy off Queen for treats—anywhere with interesting sights and sounds and good treats is a big win with Ghost and Wren.
They’re such good travelers, too, so we take them along when we leave the city. Most recently, we traveled to Mexico. They LOVE the sun, sand, and being allowed to sit on our laps during coffee breaks! They enjoy being included, so traveling places that are more dog friendly or pet-tolerant is the most fun. We recently flew to Montreal, where they had a blast.
JUST FRED: How do Ghost and Wren inspire your creative projects and moods?
Shauna: I've often joked that Ghost and Wren are my best collaborators. They are so accommodating and playful, and it's really fun to work with them.
With their alien and oddball personalities and Italian greyhound, noodle pony elegance, I am endlessly imagining settings and outfits to accentuate their humor and grace, which is a constant source of inspiration.
JUST FRED: Do you think that dog sweaters can be an opportunity for making a statement, and expressing their personality and yours?
Shauna: I'm glad I let go of any fear of judgment and just let myself play without worrying what others might think.
“Ghost and Wren’s outfits definitely inspired me to lean more into fashion, and it's become a second nature extension of my creative expression.”
Life is too short to not be goofy, so we often pair outfits or dress in ways that are complimentary. It’s fun to have people laugh or smile seeing them dressed up, or noticing us all coordinated. Most of the time, we keep it understated, but as the weather gets colder, the outfits take more center stage! Recently, I began adding group photos that include me on their instagram, and it was just a natural evolution of the account as our dynamic has grown over the years.
JUST FRED: What inspires your own personal fashion and design choices in life?
Shauna: There are so many inspirations for my style and design: my friends, nature, characters in film and television. It’s really hard to narrow it down precisely, but that's the fun of social media accounts! All of our influences end up influencing each other while we flesh out our personal take.
JUST FRED: Do you have any special rituals or memories with your dogs, like those surrounding bedtime, playtime, or walks?
Shauna: Definitely. Meal times are very ritualistic.
“Nico, my 17-year-old Russian Blue rescue cat, is their older sibling. She’s their meal advocate and lawyer, always prompting me to get the ball rolling with meal prep while they stand back and let her do the talking.”
They line up in a row while I prepare their meals, then sit while I carry Nico to her spot, and scamper to their plates when I give them the okay. Those are two very sweet bonding moments in the day that we all look forward to, and Nico insists that we stay on schedule!
JUST FRED: Question for Ghost and Wren: what do they love most about YOU and about JUST FRED?
*Ghost grabs microphone: "I’d have to say the best thing about MY mum", *edges in front of Wren, "besides chicken… is thats she's MINE!" *stinkeye to Wren.
"And the next best thing to being nakie in summer is to stay toasty, JUST FRED toasty, in baddie dog sweaters!”
Cut to Wren. *Little wag of his tail. "MY NAME IS WREN!"
(Wren is sweet and handsome, but not always the quickest, bless him).