Today is Love Your Pet Day – a day to ‘celebrate the love for our pets’ – although as far as we are concerned, that love bursts forth every day.
Pets bring joy into many people’s lives; they make us smile, comfort us and can be our very best friends. Designers and creatives seem especially enamoured with their animals. Fashionistas and dogs go together like a poodle and Paris; high-couture canines have their own social media accounts, front advertising campaigns, and jet-set around the world with their owners. Marc Jacob’s bull terrier Neville wears custom-made cashmere jumpers and has published an autobiography; Henry Holland calls French bulldog Peggy his “best friend”, while Karl Lagerfeld’s cat Choupette’s Instagram account shows her with her two maids, has custom-made luggage and her own iPad, and banked $3 million from two modelling shoots.
Many artists have been photographed with their pets; Pablo Picasso adored his dachshund, Lump, Frida Kahlo surrounded herself with macaws as colourful as her canvasses, monkeys, dogs, an eagle and a pet fawn. Henri Matisse was obsessed with his cats Minouche, Coussi and La Puce, while Andy Warhol had Archie the dachshund. Of course, Salvador Dali had to go one step further with his pet leopard, and was infamously photographed taking an anteater for a walk on the New York subway.
Perhaps it’s because designers often work alone in studios that they are so devoted to their animals. The lack of office rules means that, hey, you can have that labradoodle lurking under your feet or an anteater snuffling around your laser-cutter. We thought we’d ask our designers about their pets…
Short-haired miniature dachshunds Fran (10), Bernard (9) and Manny (4)
“We’ve had them since they were cute little puppies. Fran is named after a character in my favourite TV show, Black Books. After that it seemed only sensible to call the others Bernard and Manny. Only people who watch Black Books get it. They are little fatties and eat everything. They love a McDonald’s bacon and egg McMuffin (they’re not allowed the whole thing, just little bits of mine!). They hate going to the vet and to kennels. They know when they’re going so they avoid trying to get into the car. They also hate it when I leave them in the studio to go into town. They go absolutely crazy when I come home, as if have been gone for ten years, not thirty minutes.
Kayleigh Carter of A Weathered Penny
French bulldog Hitchy (2)
“We wanted the name Hitchcock because we knew we were going to get a black and white puppy. A girly name didn’t suit her personality so we shortened it down to Hitchy, which suits her much better! Her ultimate treat is cheese but we can't give her that a lot of the time, so she gets gravy bones which she loves! Her best days are out with her friends and the dog walker, running around with a ball in her mouth. Getting Hitchy to do anything she doesn't want to do is always a struggle. She protests by sitting down - when out walking or going in a direction she doesn't want to go. Her worst habit is undoing and biting my team’s shoe laces. She has a birthday party every year with her best doggy friend, and at Christmas she gets an advent calendar, stocking, presents and a special Christmas dinner!”
Lhasa Apso and Havanese dogs - Lulu (12) and Boba (2 or 3)
Lulu was almost named Hillary Clinton, but my kids didn’t want that! Their favourite treat it cheese, and their ideal day sleeping in the sun and a long walk. I work from home most of the time, often without any other company than my dogs, so I love having them there.”
Melodie Telliez of SlinkyLinks
Ginger tabby cat Fudge (7)
“We've had him since he was a 7-week-old kitten. He was originally a birthday present for my boyfriend but he is such a mummy's cat now. Fudge loves olives. I know it's a little random but he goes totally mad for them – even just the smell of olive oil is enough to make him come out of his cosy den and start meowing insistently. He is definitely a character. He isn't an easy going, cuddly cat! He doesn't like humans in general, except for us and will be quite open about his feelings. He nibbles flowers when we get a new bouquet which can be dangerous for him - he knows he's not allowed to do it but will always try anyway.”
Siamese cat Poroto (14)
“He had quite a few names before he was named Poroto (little bean). His first name was Bill, inspired by the movie Kill Bill. Shortly after he was named Mierdita (little shit) because he was bothering our other cat all the time and not so well behaved. One day he laid on the bed all rolled up, in the form of a bean, and we named him feijãozinho (portuguese for Poroto) and Poroto, which stuck. He likes cooked ham from a nearby butcher shop, rare tuna and rare filet mignon. For Christmas he got some cooked ham from his favourite store.”
Kelly Weinberger of WorldFinds
Cat Boris (4 ½)
“He was going to be called Poirot, but then he just seemed to behave like a Boris. He's a bad-ass and often gets in trouble, then suddenly will crawl onto my lap to cuddle. His bad habits include sneaking into the attic, walking on clean clothes I've just laid out on my bed to put on and bullying his brother.”
Cats Mittens (10) and Topple (10)
“They were the last of the litter left so I had to have them both. They were the first pets I got for the children and they are really adored. The best thing about Topple is that he’s hugely fluffy and loves hugs, Mittens is fussy and demands hugs very much on her own terms. They both hate being washed so it’s a good job it’s only happened twice. Mittens has a bad habit of breaking in to bedrooms in the middle of the night and waking everyone up. They are big hunters and quite brutal. They have brought in rabbits, squirrels, rats, birds and mice. It is the only thing that really distresses me.”
Steffanie Brown of Laviandbelle
Golden Doodle Cleo (6)
“We’ve had her for 6 years. My son Ryan chose her name. Her favourite food is banana, but she has a very delicate stomach so only gets it as a rare special treat. Her ideal day would be chasing balls in Hyde park then home for a banana for dinner. She’s a serious acrobat - she can catch balls quite high up in the air! She usually gets a squeaky toy for birthdays and Christmas. Last year she got a hilarious Red Bull called Jordan which she loves. But she’s also very happy with a bouncy squishy ball that she can chew after catching.”
Simon Brunozzi of Laviandbelle
Cat Merlin (7)
“Merlin has grey/blue fur and my kids decided he had magical powers, so they gave him a wizard’s name. He loves napping and running, and playing with pom-poms. On his birthday he gets a special meal – prawns."
Cat Winifred and dog Harley
“They are a couple - Winifred bites Harley’s Achilles’ tendon to get him to play, while Harley often escapes and collects newspapers from around the neighbourhood for Winifred.”