In association with our good friends a DogHQ each month we meet Shore people who's four-legged family members add a great deal of joy to their lives. Our very own dog-lover Aidan Bennett (he has two doggies of his own he spoils – Olive a Cocker Spaniel and Maisie a French Bulldog) loves the task of putting this monthly feature together. This month he talks with Deborah Allaker of Browns Bay about Harvey, her much-loved Cocker Spaniel.
AIDAN BENNETT: How long has Harvey been part of your life?
DEBORAH ALLAKER: He has been a part of my life for almost six months. I picked him out when he was just a week old and the size of my hand. I had to wait another eight weeks before I could take him home. I would go and visit every few weeks so he would get used to me.
AB: What made you decide to get a Cocker Spaniel?
DA: They are a good-natured, friendly and gentle breed. They are very intelligent and very loving animals.
AB: Is he your first dog, if not tell us about your other dogs?
DA: When I was a tween my parents let me get a dog. His name was Scooby and he was a Spaniel-Labrador X with fur like a black sheep. He was such a goofy, loving, gentle dog and I loved him to bits. He always knew when I was sad, loved to sit on my feet and hogged three quarters of the bed at night. He kept our other dog, Mac (Ridgeback-Collie X) company and between the two of them they got up to a lot of mischief.
AB: Do you have any other pets?
AB: What do you love about Harvey?
DA: He is a gentle dog who loves to snuggle up after breakfast for a nap. I love that he snores when he is super tired and that when it rains he doesn't want to go outside to do his business. He is very intelligent and steals my socks on a daily basis.
AB: Does he have any bad habits?
DA: He digs holes in my plant pots, the garden, my parents' strawberry patch... he also has selective hearing which I understand is a trait of the breed. Harvey is the ultimate escape artist. He learned how to unzip his crate at three months old and when I started locking the zips, he learned that enough determined digging along the seams will tear up the heavy duty canvas.
AB: What are his favourite things to do?
DA: Chasing birds, digging holes, going to the beach, chasing a ball and playing with my parents dog, Paddy.
AB: How long has he been going to DogHQ and does he love it?
DA: Harvey has been going to 'doggy daycare' since he was 12 weeks old. He loves it. The drive over to DogHQ is one that includes much excitement and when we arrive, he pulls me into the building. I don't even get a backward glance in the morning.
AB: Does he love the beach and swimming?
DA: He loves the beach and sniffing the 'wee-mails'. He especially loves chasing the seagulls. He loves the water and is getting braver and goes in a bit deeper each time we go to the beach. It won't be long before he will be swimming.
AB: Any words of wisdom for other dog owners or prospective dog owners?
DA: Have lots of patience, a good sense of humour, and have lots of toys for you new puppy to play with. The crate has been an invaluable tool and I would recommend it to anyone getting a puppy.