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 loves the task of putting this monthly feature together. He and wife Michelle have two dogs of their own. This month we feature Nikki Howell and ‘Bute’ her West Highland White Terrier.
AIDAN BENNETT: How long has Bute been part of your life?
NIKKI HOWELL: I've been fortunate enough to have Bute in my life for the last 14 months. I got him when he was three months old.
AB: What made you decide to get this breed?
NH: I did quite a bit of research to narrow it down to the West Highland White Terrier aka a Westie. I didn't want a really small dog and nor did I want a big dog. I'm originally from Scotland so it seemed appropriate and that's why he's called Bute. I was born on the Isle of Bute.
AB: Is he your first dog? If not tell us about your other dogs.
NH: He is. So I feel like I've had my L-plates up, navigating through the things that happens with puppies. I'm very much a proud fur mum and happily admit to being wrapped around his fluffy paws. It took until now for me to be a dog mum as I didn't want have him sitting at home all day if I worked and thankfully what I do now allows me to also work from home a couple of days a week.
AB: Do you have any other pets?
NH: No. Just Bute.
AB: What do you love about Bute?
NH: What do I love about him! He is incredibly social, happy and loves cuddles. He makes me smile, especially if my day hasn't gone to plan. He has such a big personality. He is a gorgeous soul – but I am a little biased!
AB: Does he have any bad habits?
NH: He always has to have the last bark if asked to stop barking at something or someone!
AB: What are his favourite things to do?
NH: He loves chasing a small rubber ring that I throw and roll. It seems to be his thing to catch it before it rolls to a flat stop. He also loves zoomies with other dogs. He has no concept of size and even tries to play with a Great Dane that often walks the same beach. The size difference is hysterical!
AB: How long has he been going to DogHQ and does he love it?
NH: He's been going to DogHQ pretty much since I got him as I wanted him to be socialised and have fun. He loves it so much that he races in and doesn't even say goodbye. I love that you get to see photos on facebook, who he's played with and a report card that tells me how his day has been. People at work are amazed at that.
AB: Does he love the beach and swimming?
NH: He loves the beach. The water not so much. That is my plan for this summer, to see if I can coax him into the sea.
AB: Any words of wisdom for other dog owners or prospective dog owners?
NH: I should have found Bute years ago. What took me so long? I cannot imagine life without him and he makes things better. As a first time fur mum it has been a little strange at times as I don't know what I don't know but chatting to the amazing staff at DogHQ when I've had a question, really helped. Do it. Give a loving dog a great home.