How are dogs – and their owners – faring in lockdown? We invited owners to share …
High-end hounds and cossetted canines are having to learn new tricks in this pesky lockdown. Not only are the legs being walked off them on a daily basis but home, usually partially deserted at given times, is a now constant whirl of activity. There are endless Zooms, round-the-clock supervision and no sneaky snoozing in the master suite.
The life of lockdown dogs is harder than it seems. Their owners’ tempers are frayed. No one is going to the office or school or gym or golf or even for a coffee; teenagers are acting out, mothers haven’t a second to themselves and men, having taken possession of prime real estate at home to WFH, have extended their dominion to rule every kitchen
Susan Zelouf on Cherry, Tiber and Ava Gray
THE GLOSS contributor Susan Zelouf writes about her Rottweiler pup Cherry …
“When our devoted vet held eight-week-old Cherry in her arms for the first time, she buried her face in puppy and huffed fur though her surgical mask. “She’s a cracker of a pup!” All of us agreed, breathing in Cherry’s sharp and milky breath, marveling at how delicious and new and sweet as pie she is; sweeter still after the devastating loss of our darlin’ girl Ava Gray, not yet four-years-old, nursed through dysplasia, diabetes, diarrhea and something far more sinister, causing her to lose her appetite and 14kgs of weight. Despite all the love in the world and wonderful veterinary care, drugs and biopsies, scans and endoscopies, vitamin injections and steroid injections, antibiotics and probiotics and natural treatments and special diets and prayers solicited by those of us who profess to be nonbelievers, Ava Gray let us know she could no longer stay.”
“Tiber was with us as we placed her in the grave we’d dug in the back field. Ava Gray and Tiber, named for the river that runs through Rome to meet the sea at Ostia, would run through the long grass, scaring up pheasant or frogs, snuffling out voles and field mice, wandering through the spring-flowering hawthorn, charging the bamboo thicket where starlings roost over the long summer evenings, causing ruckus, bounding back to the house, shooting through the magnetic doggie door into the kitchen, settling in after din-dins with a treat, a postman’s leg or a pig’s ear or dried chicken feet or stinky sticks of tripe chews, hunkering down on the slate floor, snuggling on a rug, falling asleep whenever they felt like, taking turns to go out into the dark yard to stand the night’s watch, broadcasting to anyone nuts enough to venture beyond the 5,000 volt electric fence onto our property that Here Be Rottweilers!
Rottweilers are often referred to as Velcro dogs, so protective are they of their person; they love their pack, but they belong only to one. Tiber is mine, and I am his. Ava Gray was my husband’s, and I chose Cherry for him because, blinded by grief, all Rottie pups seemed the same, none of them her.
Cherry, bold as brass, has more than doubled in weight since we brought her home six weeks ago. She owns the joint, hauling in branches of curly hazel longer than her sturdy body, navigating through the flap with trophy sticks. She is smart and bold and has cartoon eyes. She plays us like a fiddle and hangs off the folds of Tiber’s neck to show him who’s the boss. My husband drags himself out of bed twice a night, carrying her outside to pee, then sneaks her back into bed with us. Cherry is his.
We probably watch her too closely: is her poo well-formed? Is that a limp? Are her gums pale? We will her to stay healthy, to stay with us. We worry we might love her too much; with dogs, it’s not if you’ll lose them, but when. We visit with Ava Gray and thank her for sending us Cherry, as she surely has. We look to Tiber, to suss out if he appears concerned, but he is too busy, too focused, wrestling tussling scrapping dozing, with The One. Cherry is his, and Tiber is hers.” @susanzelouf www.zeloufandbell.com
Natasha Rocca Devine and Monte the Daschund
The interior design staging specialist Natasha Rocca Devine tells us how Monte the Dachshund has kept her company during lockdown …
“I have always loved dogs and gravitate to smaller breeds. I prefer rescue dogs or those bred in a safe and healthy manner. I rescued my first dog, Amore, when I was living and working in Los Angeles. I brought him back to Ireland when I moved home and he was by my side for five years. It broke my heart the day he died on Halloween 2019.
To help me move forward, my boyfriend and I got our Dachshund Monte last March. We wanted a rescue but those we considered were all too big for apartment living. As soon as we saw and met Monte, we fell in love. He is named after my boyfriend’s favourite book The Count of Monte Cristo, which was on the table the day we saw his photo. He was bred by a family in Northern Ireland, who also adore dogs, and once we checked everything was safe, he was ours and we have never looked back.
Monte is curious and mischievous; we have had to crate train him because he has eaten a lot of my shoes and clothes, along with a few toys and dog beds which has tested my patience some days. He’s determined and knows exactly what he wants and when he wants it. He loves life’s luxuries including a penchant for edamame.
As my boyfriend unexpectedly had to move away for a few months, Monte has stayed with me in Dublin and since January he has kept me company while I have been working – designing, consulting and preparing for the launch of my second scented candle “The Secret Garden” in May.
When we are out for walks along the canal where we live, Monte is happiest off lead and often gets attention due to his unusual Merle pawprints. At the weekend we go for longer walks to the beach, Phoenix Park and everywhere possible given the 5km restrictions. He loves playing with other dogs, running through the trees and making sure I keep fit chasing him! Monte’s adventures ensure each day is fun-filled; he is the most wonderful companion.” @natasha.rocca.devine www.theinteriorsnrd.com
Laura Chambers and Bailey
Cashmere designer Laura Chambers on her foster pup, Bailey …
“We had quite a few dogs growing up. I’m not faithful to any particular breed, although because of allergies, we always go for a non-shed. Bailey, our current dog, is a rescue. I got the call from the DSPCA in 2016 to let me know that they received 14 Cavachons which were seized at Dublin Port in the boot of a vehicle on its way to the UK and would we like to foster one. Naturally, as soon as we fostered him we fell in love and there was no way was he going back.
Bailey is the most gentle creature I have ever met – he is a complete antidote to the madness of our home. The vet initially thought he was so relaxed and gentle that he could possibly have Addison’s disease! He didn’t in the end, he is just one of life’s gentle souls.
I don’t know how Bailey is going to adjust to life when, eventually, we all go back to school and work as he has been in his element the last year having us all around. The kids are crazy about him, and when nobody else is talking to the teenager in the house Bailey is the one that will be there for her not judging.
You can get so wrapped up with life and work, even during the pandemic, that having a dog makes you stop for a cuddle and a walk each day which is so therapeutic.
I feel honoured that we were given the chance to foster and subsequently adopt Bailey. He is such an important member of our family. He has brought so much love and empathy. Over the few short years we have had him, we have had our losses and he has always been there with his soulful eyes, wanting to get as close as he can to offer sympathy and unconditional love.” @laurachambers_cashmere www.laura-chambers.com
Aisling Cullen and Twix
Aisling Cullen, founder of vegan food company Thanks Plants, tells us how cockapoo Twix loves snuggles, playtime and stopping in on Zoom chats …
“I have traveled a lot over the past twelve years so it wasn’t possible to get a furry friend. However, since settling back in Ireland three years ago, it was on our mind to expand our family and we took the plunge this year.
I do love curly-haired dogs, usually a poodle mix. That’s why we went for our cockapoo, Twix. My other half had been searching for a pooch for a while. We were looking around rescue centres but most requested their dogs go to homes with no young children. In the end, we got Twix through a recommendation and it was love at first sight.
Poodles are highly intelligent dogs and the fact that they don’t shed is a huge bonus. My mother had a poodle when she was a little girl, called Pierre. Pierre would always make sure she never went near the edge of the road, keeping her safe on the kerb. That story always stayed with me and I’ve always held poodles in high esteem.
Twix has a very docile temperament and loves his snuggles and playtime. He’s still young and we are training him; fortunately he’s picking up everything very quickly.
Even though Twix only came into our lives a couple of months ago, he’s added a whole new dynamic to our family. He puts a smile on people’s faces when we include him in our Zoom chats and he’s definitely livened up some dull days. We live near the Hell Fire Club (or Montpelier Hill, Co Dublin) which is our favourite walk. His little legs get a bit tired going up so sometimes he needs a helping hand to make it to the top.” @thanksplants.co www.thanksplants.co
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