In association with our good friends at DogHQ each month we meet Shore people whose 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 Miriam Byrne of Forrest Hill about Jerry, her much-loved English Springer Spaniel who loves going to Dog HQ.
AIDAN BENNETT: How long has Jerry been part of your life?
MIRIAM BYRNE: Jerry came into our lives just over five months ago, he was five months old at the time. We recently met his brother (same litter) through dog training (we never considered that this would even be possible) – this was really exciting for all of us owners and for them too!
AB: What made you decide to get a this breed?
MB: A really good friend in Ireland had an English Springer Spaniel and she was such a gorgeous and affectionate dog – we’d always said when we got a dog that we wanted to get a Springer.
AB: Is he your first dog, if not tell us about your other dogs?
MB: Yes Jerry is our first dog, neither of us had a dog before. The first week was a complete upheaval of our life, we didn’t know what had hit us! We had seen dogs with their owners for years and they all looked so obedient – but what you don’t realise is the puppy phase is hard work. After about a week of adjustments he was part of the family and we love him to bits, even when he reduces our slippers to bits!!
AB: Do you have any other pets?
AB: What do you love about Jerry?
MB: He’s so affectionate and fluffy. He loves to have his belly rubbed and just really loves being around people – he’s such a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
AB: Does he have any bad habits?
MB: Yes. He loves to eat the plants in the garden! We know he will grow out of this so we are waiting until that happens before we add any new plants. Like a toddler he is into everything. He also likes to chase birds which is part of his breed, and this is especially challenging when you are on the beach and want to go home.
AB: What are his favourite things to do?
MB: Jerry loves going to the beach to swim, run after birds and play ball, that's his favourite thing to do! He also loves getting his belly and ears rubbed! He loves sleeping on the couch, preferably on us which is lovely too.
AB: How long has he been going to DogHQ and does he love it?
MB: Jerry has been at Dog HQ for about five months now, he loves it, he has recently moved into the big dog section which was a bit of a transition for him but he always runs out of the car to the door to get in to Dog HQ so we guess he likes it.
AB: Any words of wisdom for other dog owners or prospective dog owners?
MB: I think that if you were getting a puppy bringing them to puppy training really helps, Jerry has been to two sets of training, puppy and intermediate. The training is more for the owner than the dog I think sometimes. Crate training is good too. The other thing that's really important is to calmly and gently guide them to be better behaved, they have to be taught to do things, it does not come naturally as they are pack animals. The book Dog Zen and DoggyDan website have really great insights – we’ve found these very useful.