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
Imen McDonnell, food writer and and co-founder of Lens & Larder, with Chloe and Marley
“We had dogs when I was a child, but I never had one of my own as an adult until moving to Ireland. My work previously involved a lot of travel so it didn’t make sense to have a dog, but now I can’t imagine being without one because they really add so much to life.
When I first came to Ireland, I insisted on an Airedale which we named Teddy. He was completely mad; he was my buddy and I loved him. Now we have a rescue Whippet named Chloe and our Labernese (Labrador Bernese Mountain Dog cross), Marley, who is partially disabled. Both of them are the sweetest, most loving companions in the world!
Chloe was adopted from the local animal sanctuary. There are many Whippets, Greyhounds and Lurchers that need to be rescued; they are often severely abused and neglected which is the saddest thing because they are such gentle creatures.
We got Marley from a breeder. Unfortunately she was born with severe hip dysplasia and at only ten months, two vets told us to euthanise her because she would not have the quality of life. I tried one more vet, Shane Guerin (he has a show on television) and he literally saved Marley by recommending hydrotherapy (with Claire O’Donnell, of the Canine Clinic Cork), daily walks and medication. She is five-years-old now and thriving.
They are both extremely well-behaved. Chloe sometimes has the instinct to run when I have her off-lead, but she always comes back (unless she is chasing a hare!)
No matter how much work I am doing on the farm or with my renovation project, I walk the dogs every single morning and sometimes every evening. They love the boreens; and the walks are also a form of meditation for me.
We’ve been field walking lately – some of our farm fields are covered in golden flowering mustard at the moment and it is so stunning on a sunny day. I let them run wild while I walk and then we sit on the the top of the hill together and just stare at the natural beauty that surrounds us. It’s pure heaven.” @imenmcdonnell www.lensandlarder.com
Maura Kent and Roxy in Dubai
“I did not want any pets here in Dubai but happily for all I was overruled by the family! Minnie Peters, whom I got to know on Instagram, educated me all about rescue dogs and puppy farms so we decided we would not buy any pets. We adopted Roxy from a family leaving Dubai. This happens quite a lot here. She’s an American cocker spaniel and at eight-years-old is middle aged like myself. She’s well beyond the naughty puppy stage and is a very calm, chilled out girl and very affectionate. She has been a great source of comfort during the pandemic, especially for the children. Roxy has also loosened me up about mess and tidiness at home. You’ve got to roll with the hairs and the odd accident. Pets really do relax a home.
We usually walk Roxy around the back streets of our neighbourhood in Jumeirah because, until recently, Dubai was not a dog-friendly city. It’s not customary to keep dogs as pets in the local culture here so there was very little provision for dogs in Dubai. Now, there are some wonderful places on The Palm and elsewhere to walk your dog including dog-friendly restaurants and cafes. This is a very exciting development for us dog owners.
Our animal adoption journey has continued with the recent addition of two cats. We got both of them from an Iraqi lady here who dedicates herself to saving as many cats in Dubai as she can. Cosmo is a regal one-year-old Persian who was surrendered by a departing expat. Val was found as a tiny kitten on Valentine’s Day this year. His mother had been run over by a car on the streets of Satwa. We are now complete. The family zoo is firmly closed!” @maurakent
Gearoid Muldowney, founder and head of design at Superfolk, and his ten-year-old Weimaraner, Woody
“As a child I remember we had a dog called Pooch, a mixed terrier who lived to the grand old age of 17, that’s 119 in dog years.
Our dog Woody is a Weimaraner. We got Woody from an Irish Kennel Club registered breeder in Co Kildare. Of the eight pups we met from that litter Woody choose us.
Weimaraners have their own peculiar eccentricities, which can be challenging at times, but I wouldn’t change them for the world. Weimaraner owners know the traits these dogs have: they are very intelligent and can take a bit of getting used to.
As long as we stick to his meticulous schedule, Woody is very well behaved. Very occasionally he will chew up a piece of paper that’s fallen out of someone’s pocket, but he knows when he’s in the wrong and will avoid eye contact!
Woody loves big open spaces so the beach is especially good for him: we don’t live within 5km of the coast so we’re all really looking forward to getting back to the sea.
For now, we make do with the bog and the forest. Woody has been great company during Covid-19 and helps keep us active. He always reminds us when it’s time to go for a walk.” @superfolk www.superfolk.com
Roisin Tierney-Crowe, Head of Communications, L’Oreal Ireland, with Danté and Laoch
“I’m definitely more of a dog person, than a cat person. My love and attachment to dogs started from childhood. I grew up in the countryside in Tipperary on a farm, and our dog was very much a family member, and part of all the childhood games we played and adventures we went on when we explored the fields, rivers and surrounds. Our first dog was a Jack Russell, but we had a few sheep dogs. My Mum now has a Bichon Frise, allowed indoors only because he doesn’t shed hair.
I certainly wasn’t faithful to any particular breed until Danté and Laoch came along. I love the story behind the Argentinian Dogo – bred primarily for the purpose of big-game hunting. The breeder, Antonio Nores Martínez, also wanted a dog that would be brave and willing to protect its human family. Morocho, one of his dogos, famously saved Antonia’s children from the clutches of a puma. The dog almost died in his endeavours, but thankfully no harm came to Antonia’s daughters and his dog recovered.
When I met my (now) husband, he had Danté, who is named after the Italian poet, writer and philosopher, Dante Alighieri. At that time Danté was a boisterous two-year-old. As I got to know him, I said a distraught goodbye to a lovely pair of YSL Tribute sandals, and few months later a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes (worn once). Thankfully our mutual love of leather is no longer a bone of contention and that phase has passed! He celebrated his tenth birthday earlier this month and is an elder statesman in his style now.
I can’t recall how I was convinced to agree to a second dogo; I think it may have been to keep Danté company, given we were both away from home during the day at that time – the irony. So Laoch came into our lives just over two years ago. Her name is Irish and means warrior or hero – and a strong little girl she is too.
Personality wise, Laoch is a bundle of love (except when it comes to her uncle John, but that’s a different story). She loves kisses, cuddles and being the centre of attention. Danté is the opposite – he’s a take it or leave it kind of guy. Getting their daily exercise is key to ensuring they stay well behaved and not too energetic, so that means at least 10km a day for us all. Fortunately we live in the countryside, so we have an abundance of walkways, fields and “loops” to choose from. Both love the water so if we take a route with water, you’re guaranteed they’ll go swimming! During lockdown we’ve spent much more time watching them – their antics make us chuckle especially at the weekends.” @rotierneycrowe
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