How are dogs – and their owners – faring in lockdown? We invited owners to share, and want you to share too … tag @theglossmag in your pictures and videos on Instagram and use the hashtag #GlossyDogs …
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.
How are dogs and their owners faring in lockdown? We invited owners to share, and want you to share too … tag @theglossmag in your pictures and videos on Instagram and use the hashtag #GlossyDogs.
Diarmuid Gavin and Bowie
Irish garden designer Diarmuid Gavin tells how his naughty Cavachon, Bowie likes to keep guard while he works in the garden and patrol the chicken enclosure …
“We had one dog growing up, a beautiful Cocker Spaniel called Bounty, though my parents weren’t really dog people. However since I got married we’ve never been without, often King Charles Cavaliers, my wife’s favourite.
We bought Bowie from a breeder in Cork, three years ago. He is a Cavachon which is a mix of Cavalier and Bichon. Our daughter really wanted a small dog and she and her friend chose from the litter but Bowie very soon made it clear I was his buddy. Bowie is my twin and is named after David – my favourite album is The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust. He’s not well behaved but he’s adorable. He’s totally mischievous and well able to shoot a knowing look.
We go for walks at the Waterfall on the Powerscourt Estate. We go early when no-one is around. Bowie tears through the undergrowth with ears flapping or rubs himself up and down in deer poo! Whenever I go swimming, he pees on the dry robe and yaps at me when I’m in the water. He swam out to meet me one day when he thought I was drowning and I had to save him.
When I’m gardening, Bowie keeps guard – he doesn’t quite get it. It’s a hobby that’s below him. He stares on with a look of bemused boredom. At the moment we should be scarifying our lawns, preparing our beds for wildflower seeds, and planting spuds.
Bowie’s favourite spot is patrolling the fence by the chicken enclosure, dreaming of ways to get in at the hens. Occasionally he does and then doesn’t know what to do …” @diarmuidgavin
Diarmuid Gavin is ambassador of Home Electric+ plan from Electric Ireland. To find out more visit www.electricireland.ie/smart-meters #brightertogether. Says Gavin, “I switched to the plan because I like to see where the electricity I’m using is going, what household devices use the most. It helped me understand that I can use our power more efficiently.”
Sarah Geraghty and Molly and Scout
Senior training consultant at The Communication Clinic, Sarah Geraghty has always had dogs at home in Kildare, where the pups enjoy a freewheeling country life …
“My love of dogs began before I was born. Every year on our birthdays, my Mum tells me and my sister Mary-Kate a dramatised story of the day we were born. Because of the pandemic separation it’s evolved from telling us in person to an emoji-filled text. Mine starts with a trip to the chemist where my mum realised my arrival was imminent.
“Tiger, we’re going to have a baby!” she declared to the little Jack Russell in the passenger seat beside her before racing home.
I don’t remember a time without at least one dog at home in Kildare. Plus an aloof, hardworking cat who just ignored them.
There was Carla the Alsation. Jessie, a snappy Jack Russell who scared us all. Bill, a bushy-browed rescue from Kildare Animal Foundation, who waddled down the road daily for a leisurely chat with his brother. Now there is Molly from Dog’s Trust, a big Labrador cross of some kind and Scout, a dead ringer for Tiger with Disney eyes and ears.
The plan was for Scout to live with me in Dublin but once she got a taste for a collarless, freewheeling country life – patrolling the field before bed, barking at cattle – she was never going to become a city dog. Photos of these two account for most of the storage issues on my phone.
When I was about eight, Flossy arrived. She was our first Rough Collie and we’ve had two Collies since. They’re gentle, nuzzling, sensitive, beautiful creatures. Lily arrived for my dad Pat’s 50th birthday and when she died, was followed by Jack. Dad and Jack would head off for hours to chop wood or strim hedges. A thoroughly contented pair.
My favourite images are of them ambling down the field together. Or driving home and being met by them at the gateway of the house. When my dad died nearly four years ago, we stood at the gate waiting for him to be brought home. While we walked behind the hearse, Jack trotted ahead accompanying Dad back to the house where he grew up.
During lockdown after 13 very happy years rambling the fields and lying on our feet, Jack gave up the ghost in October. Molly has finally been forgiven for breaking my Mum’s shoulder in August when she bolted after a bird with Mum still holding the leash. And Scout won’t sleep anywhere else than in a bed with a human.” www.communicationsclinic.ie @sarahcgeraghty
Orla Van Den Bergh and Jess and Milly
Orla Van Den Bergh, founder of Max Benjamin candles, on her love of Golden Retrievers …
“We have always had a huge array of animals in our family: guinea pigs, rabbits, cats and dogs. We used to have German Shepherds growing up and my Mum also bred a litter of Tibetan Spaniels which was very memorable. As children, my brothers and I regularly dragged strays in off the road and tried to persuade our parents to keep them.
I genuinely love all breeds of dogs but I have to say I am mad about our two gorgeous Golden Retrievers Jess and Milly. Jess loves to swim especially when we are on holiday in Connemara – when she will come in for a dip with us all. Milly is a total sweetheart and is exceptionally good-natured especially with children.
When we moved to Enniskerry, we were looking for a family dog that would not wander or dig to get out of the garden. We had plenty of dogs growing up that no matter how much space they had would dig themselves out and be found fields away. So I researched breeds that would be happy to be wherever the family was and be totally safe to have around young children. Golden retrievers seemed to come up top on all my searches, so I contacted the Irish Kennel Club to source a reputable breeder. We travelled to meet the mother with her pups that were snuggled beside the fireplace in the kitchen at five weeks old. We took Jess home at ten weeks. It was really important to me that I was getting our family pet from another loving family. Reliable breeders will screen the families that are taking their pups which is very comforting. When Jess was two we got another retriever Milly and now they are inseparable.
I took both to training classes for the basics though retrievers are exceptionally compliant so it was quite easy. However, like all of us, they have developed bad habits over the last year. They are starting to slide up on the sofa, one paw at a time when we are all glued to a movie. Sometimes there is a battle for space on the sofa. It’s also advisable never to wear black when visiting my house, as there is blonde dog hair everywhere!
Routine is one of the factors that has kept us all sane through lockdown. A bark from the dogs at 7am starts our day and the ritual of feeding the animals begins. My husband takes them out for a long walk in the forest every morning – hail, rain or snow. My three sons (all studying for college online at home) have spent a huge amount of time with them and they have bonded hugely over the year.
As for walks, we use the Riverwalk at Powerscourt a lot. It’s such a sociable space for dogs and their owners. Jess and Milly love getting off their leads and having a dip.” www.maxbenjamin.ie
Sign up to our MAILING LIST now for a roundup of the latest fashion, beauty, interiors and entertaining news from THE GLOSS MAGAZINE’s daily dispatches.