JANA , 48 + BANJO, 4, BOSTON TERRIER
“Having Banjo in my life has made me a much happier person. He’s become more important than things I used to worry about. When I picked him up from a breeder four years ago, he was waiting for me out the front of the house wearing a bow tie and a collar – because he’s a Boston terrier, the ‘American Gentleman’.
He is true to his breed; he can be reserved with people but is really boisterous at the park with other dogs, which is a little bit like me.
They do say dogs take after their owners … that’s why he’s wearing a Christian Dior neck scarf! When people see Banjo, there’s always a smile on their face. He imparts joy to the world just by walking down the street.”
VALERIE, 36 + ODESSA, 14 MONTHS, BORZOI (RUSSIAN WOLFHOUND)
“Odessa is a borzoi, which means ‘swift’ or ‘fast’ in Russian [and is] also called the Russian wolfhound. They’re quite a unique and giant dog breed – people always seem to be fascinated by her and often stop in the street to say hello and give her a pat. People have said she does resemble Falkor from the movie The Neverending Story or some other mystical-type creature.
My husband and I are obsessed with her – she even has a hashtag, #ObsessaWithOdessa. She is very much our fur baby and has taught us patience as well as unconditional love.
Odessa’s favourite activity is zoomies (which is running around really fast, zooming) and chasing or being chased by other dogs in the park.
I truly treasure her individuality – she is super kooky and makes me laugh all the time. They call them weird and wonderful hounds for a reason.”
ADAM, 52, AND ALEX, 50 + GRACE , 1 0 , AND BELLA, 3, BOXERS
ADAM [LE FT ] “I grew up with boxers and they’re such social, happy dogs. When I got Grace [right] a decade ago, I named her after my grandmother, Marion Grace Cowper. I always thought Grace was the most beautiful name. I chose not to have children, so I knew I wanted to call my dog Grace. Our dogs are our family. When we go on holiday, we miss them. There’s nothing like the love of a dog.”
ALEX “I was a cat person when I met Adam six years ago, but Grace converted me. So much so, she made me want to get a second dog. We got Bella three years ago; they have the same father, so they’re sisters. Grace is a lady and Bella is a rebel heart. I started an Instagram account for them and the bio reads: ‘Likes: digging for treasures, naps, sunny spots, tennis balls. Dislikes: skateboards, baths and raw vegies.’ They love a photo opportunity, as you can tell.”
SHELLY, 45 + MR BARKLEY, 7, AND BELLA, 6, RESCUE DOGS
“My husband Darren and I have chosen to be child-free. I know that dogs are not a replacement for kids, but they have brought so much love into our lives. When we decided to get a dog, we knew we wanted a rescue. We got Mr Barkley around two-and-a-half years ago; he was found on the streets. He was so skinny and had [to be] completely shaved because his hair was so matted. We knew he was the one.
I was reluctant to get another dog because Mr Barkley was so perfect, but then we found Bella six months ago at Dog Rescue Newcastle. Her story was heartbreaking. She was forced to have litter after litter at a puppy farm, where she was quite neglected. Most of her fur had fallen out and they had to remove all of her teeth one by one, but she was the kindest, most loving animal. When we introduced her to Mr Barkley, he was instantly protective of her and very gentle.
Both Mr Barkley and Bella have blossomed since we got them. Mr Barkley is like a firstborn child: he’s a perfectionist and a people pleaser; he sleeps in our bed every night. Bella is like an old broad who’s seen it all. They make everything better. They are definitely our fur kids – we can’t go out for dinner without a puppysitter.”
MICHELE, 31, AND REEVE, 32 + BOBBY BONES RANSFIELD, 3 , CAVOODLE
“When we got Bobby three years ago, it was love at first sight. He was meant to be a toy cavoodle and half this size – but he’s a big boy. Bobby is 100 per cent our fur baby. We’re a family. We treat him like a human [and] he loves to eat carrots and asparagus. If he barks too much or is rough with his toys, we put him in the naughty corner. But all round he’s a really good pup. We’ve given him a few nicknames: ‘bubby boy’, ‘mummy’s boy’ and ‘bubby burger’. The poor dog’s so confused – he’s got so many names!”
This story originally appeared in the August issue of marie claire.