Tuesday 25 July 2017

What kind of dog owner are you?

Leinster and Ireland star Jamie Heaslip with his bulldog Jay-Z
Leinster and Ireland star Jamie Heaslip with his bulldog Jay-Z
Jamie Heaslip and his beloved bulldog, Jay Z. Photo: Mark Nixon
Jennifer Lawrence and her dog
Kylie Jenner's pooch Norman has his own Instagram account which has 340,000 followers.
Roz Purcell and her dog Wilko
DAisy Lowe and her dog

Debora Robertson

Last week, I met someone who bakes dog biscuits for an upmarket restaurant chain. This is an actual job now.

Gone are the days when a dog's place was in the field, or at least in the home. They're everywhere: out of the stable and at the top table, from cafes to shops, posh hotels to the red carpet.

Holly Carpenter and her dogs Toby and Gus. Photo: Mark Condren
Holly Carpenter and her dogs Toby and Gus. Photo: Mark Condren

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, actress Jennifer Lawrence expressed deep love for her little brown dog, Pippi Longstocking.

She describes how, last Christmas, her mother comm- issioned a portrait of Pippi from a 14-year-old fan.

At first, the actress hung it in her Los Angeles home only when her mum visited, before realising, "F*** it. I am the person who has an acrylic painting of her dog", and proudly showcased it above her fireplace.

"I'm a psychotic dog mom in a way that I am genuinely embarrassed about. If I could put her inside me and give birth to her, I would," said Lawrence.

Roz Purcell and her dog Wilko
Roz Purcell and her dog Wilko

She also went on to claim that if she was to become a mother to an actual baby, that child would have to take second place to her pet.

She's not alone in her psychotic-dog-mommery. Whereas once it was all about the "crazy cat lady", in the past few years it seems everyone I know has acquired a dog.

Friends swap details of dog-friendly establishments and discuss the benefits of certain employers allowing you to take Fido to the office as a perk akin to a pension plan.

This is the age of the unbearable coolness of dogs.

Flip through a magazine or click on a gossip site and you'll be bombarded with pictures of celebs and their pooches: Daisy Lowe walking her Maltese, Monty, around Primrose Hill, Kate Moss cosying up with her Staffie Archie or Simon Cowell on a far-flung beach canoodling with Yorkshire terriers Freddy, Squiddly and Diddly.

It's understandable, really. When the world gets crazier every day, what's more comfort- ing that the dependable decency of dogs?

So, which kind of psychotic "dog parent" are you?

Utility class

Found stomping across fields or high streets in a comely combination of threadbare tweed and cashmere, or fleece and dirty denim.

Every jacket, coat or trouser pocket contains bags for picking up dog poo and ancient dog treat crumbs.

Smells faintly of dog, obviously, but this is one of the ways in which these particular dog owners seek each other out.

They see the constant layer of dog hair as extra insulation and may make well-rehearsed jokes about extra layers for warmth (ha ha!) if you mention it.

Team Player

Their dogs are less pets, more running companions, coaches and motivators. They see their hounds as furry Fitbits and are most likely to give them sporty names like Scout, Rocky or Buzz.

These dogs are most likely to own high-vis panniers for carrying torches and maps, even in town. This type of dog mum or dad are least likely to allow their dogs on to the furniture, at least when anyone's looking.

High Maintenance

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Kylie Jenner's pooch Norman has his own Instagram account which has 340,000 followers.

Kylie Jenner's pooch Norman has his own Instagram account which has 340,000 followers.

There is a certain kind of dog parent who sees their dog as a style extension of themselves.

Their dogs are most likely to have wardrobes that would put a society hostess to shame.

Diamante for evening? Sure, pass the collar. Argyle sweater for country weekends? All the colour ways. Cute polka dot raincoat for drizzly days? Absolutely.

This owner is most likely to see signature organic dog cologne as essential, and have the schedule of the local doga (dog yoga classes, of course) programmed into their phone. There's a lint roller by every door and in every glove box.

Meet my Fur Baby

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Roz Purcell and her dog Wilko

Roz Purcell and her dog Wilko

These people's dogs pass their days in soothing rounds of organic dog food dinners, prob-ably homemade, and puppy play dates, possibly catered.

It's highly likely their pampered pets have their own social media accounts, which enjoy a greater number of followers than those of their owners.

These dog mums buy dehydrators solely to prepare dried liver treats and sweet potato chews for their little darlings. Most likely to allow their dog on to the bed (and under the covers).

Hip Houndster

These dog crazies love the cred a rescued hound bestows, with extra points for the farther away the dog has come. French rescues are a bit passe; Romanian ones bestow greater kudos.

They have The Dogs Trust website bookmarked and just can't resist the doleful eyes and X Factor-style tragic back stories, so occasionally they end up with their own tiny packs.

No one ever speaks of the untrainable one that never gave up being bitey and was disappeared one day.

If they have a pure breed it will be because, wouldn't you know, it turns out French bulldogs are the only dogs they're not allergic to.

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