Veterinary nurse and blogger Stephanie talks to us about life with her brood of dogs, the impact they’ve had on her life and the importance of treating our pets in the right way…
What’s your day job?
I’m a veterinary nurse full time, but also have a fairly new photography business.
What are your hobbies?
Photography is a big thing, that came from my love of blogging. Blogging and vlogging is really my number one hobby, as well as expanding that to the dogs Instagram which I love doing!
How many dogs have you got and what breeds are they? Why did you choose them?
Alfie and Tilly are our family dogs, Alfie is a Collie-Cross-Spaniel and Tilly is a Spaniel (apparently) cross. Alfie is forever my best friend, and they’re such lovely pooches. Severus is a Working Cocker Spaniel, and our first dog. Lily just joined us in January who is another Working Cocker. I loved Spaniels from a young age as I grew up with one, and working in practice has really shaped and made me notice what breeds I really like.
How do your friends get on with your dogs?
Most of our friends know that we are crazy dog people! Our close friends Tom and Sarah love them, but a few find it a bit too much, especially because they can be a little crazy at times…
How long have you had them all?
Alfie we got at 9 months old as a rescue, and he’s almost 11. Tilly is also a rescue but we got her as a puppy, she’ll be 8 later in the year. Severus we had from a puppy, and he’s 2½ years old. Lily is obviously very little, but I’m excited for her first birthday party already!
Do they come with you to work?
When I’m on a night shift I tend to have a dog (or two) with me. Alfie and Sev know the routine so well now, and they always keep me company.
What difference do they make to your life?
They’re such an important part of my life. I love them all so much, and they’ve honestly made me who I am. When we got Severus it was such an exciting and big deal, and we truly stared our family with him. We are a fur-family through and through.
Do you take them on holiday with you and if so where?
We go away as much as possible and I love finding dog-friendly places to stay. Making a weekend of it is always the best with a long dog walk and roast dinner at the end of it. We love being by the coast, so Devon and Cornwall we love. We’ve also spent some time in the New Forest not recently. We have a gorgeous Brecon Beacons holiday coming up in April too. A lot of our adventures feature on my blog.
Do they have any funny ways or have there been any funny incidents involving your dogs?
Too many to talk about, they are Spaniels after all! They all have their own characters and I love it.
Is there anything you feel particularly strongly about regarding pet welfare?
I think being a veterinary nurse I could go on a lot about this, there’s always too many! The thing I’m actually going to mention is diet and obesity in pets though. It’s such the norm to see a fat dog, and people just think that’s okay. It’s such a huge growing problem and all the fault is down to the owner. I think we all love to treat our pets, but we can do it in the right way.
When you first got your dogs, did you train them and how?
All our dogs have been to obedience classes, Sev still goes to his and Lily starts hers tonight! They’re by no means ready for Crufts, but they know basic commands and have manners.
Do you take the dogs with you to restaurants/pubs/cafés? Any favourites?
When we go away for the weekend we always research and look up dog-friendly places. I love seeing them be allowed in places like this and think it’s so important. We have a few country pubs around here that we visit. Alfie and Tilly visit the pub with my parents most weekends, and Alfie will sulk if he doesn’t get attention from all the locals.
Where do they exercise? Any favourite parks or places?
We are very lucky here in Wiltshire with the gorgeous countryside. The walks we have a choice of are beautiful, from woodland, to large field areas and we also live over the canal too. When we visit London we’ve really enjoyed taking Sev to the Wimbledon area (as well as seeing the sights and sounds of the big city!)