To celebrate Father's Day in the UK, we asked two of our longer standing H+W advocates and dog daddies about their canine parenthood story. Read on as Patrick and Alan discuss first impressions, how their dog helped one of them get through the solitary challenges of working from home, and selfless, unconditional love.
Alan, father to Blu
1- How did you meet your dogs, and what was the adoption process like?
I’ve always loved King Charles Cavaliers, a close friend always had them growing up, and I have previously owned one with an ex from being a puppy. They are such energetic, loving and happy dogs. Back in 2015, I spent the Spring searching for a new pup to share my life with. I wasn’t bothered what colour or what sex the pup was, just wanted to make sure I was getting a healthy one as Cavs can suffer from a lot of genetic breeding issues, heart palpitations, syrinmomeyelia, hip dysplasia and lots more nasty stuff from years of breeding from poorly dogs - so you’ve got to be really careful making sure you get a pup from health checked parents and from someone who’s not just breeding them for the loot! After a few dodgy experiences over sites like ePupz.com
, things like breeders wanting me to pay a deposit before viewing a pup, and a couple lying about health checks when a google search of the male dog showed me he had eye issues, I found a lovely lady in Cardiff who has always owned Cav’s as family pets. She had never had a litter of pups before but had always wanted to, and she’d just had a litter of 7 healthy little ones. I spoke to her daughter on the phone who breeds Rhodesian Ridgebacks
and they were such a nice bunch of people. I could tell they loved dogs, so I booked myself up on the train and a few days later went down from Newcastle to Cardiff to meet Blu and his 5 brothers and 1 sister. I fell in love straight away and said I’d take him before heading straight back home! Few weeks later, I drove back to collect him and we’ve been inseparable ever since!
2- What are the benefits of having a dog in your life?
After working full time for over a decade, in 2011 I took the plunge to work from home with my business AnyForty. Before having a dog, sometimes I’d not even leave the house for a few days and when I did leave the house, it may sound stupid, but I’d almost forgotten how to talk to strangers! It was kind of a daunting experience leaving the safety of the four walls and your computer screen and venturing out into the big bad world! I’ve always loved dogs, had a family dog for the best part of 18 years when I was a kid and I had always wanted one of my own. When it was clear I could survive being self-employed and keep a roof over my head, I thought it was the perfect time to get a pooch of my own to keep me company and give me a reason to leave the house during the day. It’s the favourite part of my life now. Venturing out in the middle of the day for a walk with Blu, meeting other dog walkers while throwing his ball around the park. Also stopping to talk to strangers while Blu demands pats off them while carrying a massive stick (he’s worked out he gets more attention off people when he’s carrying sticks!). I get to do all this while most people I know are stuck in offices, lurched over a laptop shovelling a Boots Meal Deal down their throat while working! It is funny how when you have a dog, the world seems a whole lot friendlier place to live in.
3- What are your favourite activities to share with your pups? Any tips on pet-friendly spots or wilderness walks in your city?
Definitely walking. We have a good relationship in the house during the day, Blu knows that when I’m at the laptop or have the phone in my hand, I’m working, so he just climbs into his bed in my office, or onto the sofa next to me and sleeps. But come midday, that’s when the fun happens for a few hours! After 14 years living down south, I didn’t realise until I relocated back to Newcastle how incredible the north east is if you own a dog. We live on a nice estate called The Staiths, it’s a 25 minute walk along a beautiful riverside path to get into Newcastle City centre. We have a few parks around us all within walking distance, but even better than that, is that within a 30 minute drive we've got woodlands, forests, moorlands, hills, beaches and loads more. Since January, once a week on a Sunday we also go hiking with a few mates on the estate. We visit places like the Derwent Reservoir, The Northern Penines or Hadrians wall. The North East is stacked with incredibly beautiful walks and scenery. I think Blu has to be the most spoiled dog for walks. To be honest, as long as he’s able to chase a ball, carry a stick or chew an acorn he’d be happy wherever we go! But Blu’s a lucky pup, Newcastle is also a very dog welcoming city. Most of the city’s pubs,bars and coffee shops are dog friendly, so he even gets to come along on nights out too. His favourite spot is Dat Bar in Newcastle City centre. He lways gets lots of pats and dog biscuits off the super friendly bar staff and always makes a bee line for their front door!
Follow Alan and Blu's northern adventures on IG @alanwardle
Patrick, dad to Maxwell and Smith
Picture by Ben Broomfield
1. How did you meet your dogs, and what was the adoption process like?
I got both my dogs through internet searching - one through the Kennel Club, the other through the Southern Irish Terrier Association. My first, Maxwell, came to me really quickly and easily (I remember the rush to get everything ready!); Smith took longer to find and I recall being so grateful when we found her. We went to see the litter, all asleep, when they were 11 days old - Smith woke up and looked right at us and that was that.
Picture by Ben Broomfield
2. What are the benefits of having a dog in your life?
Unconditional love, fun, noise, fresh air, exercise, new friends, an excuse not to go out to dull evening events! Highly recommended!
Picture by Ben Broomfield
3. What are your favourite activities to share with your pups? Any tips on good pet-friendly spots or wilderness walks?
We love stick-pulling, squirrel-chasing and ice cream-licking. Shopping in Liberty is another favourite activity, the same as making new friends and hanging out in Haggerston with the local dog posse.
in terms of walks, some of our usual ones are Springfield Park and Walthamstow Marshes, Regents Park sports fields (especially when the Australian Rules Football teams are playing), Abney Park Cemetery and Highgate Ponds. Primrose Hill is ideal for sunrises while Battersea Park is perfect for ball-chasing on the cricket pitch. Soho for Saturday afternoon parading in their Hiro and Wolf accessories and the Emirates stadium is a fun place to be pre-match. So many places!
Do you have a story of fatherly unconditional love too? We'd love to hear!