British model David Gandy talks with PetsPyjamas about his love of dogs, work on animal welfare and his adorable rescue dog Dora.
What are you working on right now?
We are just making the last few adjustments to the Autumn/Winter David Gandy for Autograph range at M&S. We’re celebrating the 5 year anniversary of the range. Many other exciting projects also on the go!
Where did you get your adorable dog Dora?
Dora came from Battersea Dogs home. I was made the first ever Ambassador for Battersea many years ago and have fostered many dogs over the years. Dora came into Battersea as a tiny puppy, puppies are usually fostered immediately and I agreed to take on Dora for 4 weeks to start her training and socialise her for her to be rehomed. She was such a wonderful dog that she never went back to Battersea and she became the first dog we have rehomed!
How did you choose her?
I always say when it comes to rehoming a rescue dog, its almost they find you or you find each other. Often you have an idea of what breed of dog you want and then you have such a connection with a dog or breed you didn’t even think about. Personally, I love mixed breed dogs and that’s exactly what Dora is.
How do you support the Wild at Heart Foundation?
I support Wild at Heart and Nikki Tibbles in any way I can, as I do with all of the charities I support. Either helping with ideas to raise awareness and vital donations, donating myself, but also spreading the word of the incredible work that Nikki and the team do at the charity.
What difference does Dora make to your life?
Dogs are a huge responsibility and people have to realise this. Dora and I go out in the mornings for a 4/5 mile walk and then another 2/3 mile walk in the evenings. She’s is part of the family, we are like a little pack, she goes everywhere with us and I think people are happier to see her than they are me!
Dogs give you unconditional love, you will probably never get the love, companionship, and loyalty from any human or animal that you will do from a dog. We now simply couldn’t live without her
Does she get on well with your baby Matilda?
Matilda is fascinated by Dora. Of course, when a baby is introduced into a family, people have to remember that the dog may feel very left out as they have always had the majority of the attention. I made sure that Dora was involved in every process. If I changed a nappy I made sure Dora came with me and she got a treat for coming up and supervising. I made sure she got even more walks than normal, as many people don’t have time with a new baby and the dog becomes bored and frustrated. Dora also loves coming to the park when we take Matilda, but she has always been brilliant with children and is calm, friendly and patient.
Do you have any favourite places to walk and pet-friendly cafes you like?
Richmond Park is where I often take Dora in the mornings and we get a coffee and muffin (shared by Dora) either from Colicci cafe or Pen Ponds Cafe in the park.
Tinto Coffee is a small coffee shop in Fulham that I have been going to for many years. Not only is it incredible coffee, but everyone brings there dogs there and gets to know each other and the dogs, it’s wonderful.
Do you like to travel with Dora?
We haven’t travelled abroad with Dora yet. She comes with us to the countryside every weekend and we often travel 4 or 5 hrs up to Yorkshire to see family. The car isn’t her favourite place, but I always make sure she has had a long walk and she is calm and tired before we travel and she’s very good.
Is she a coastal canine or country girl?
Dora loves exploring and loves the outdoors. She is happy anywhere outside, beaches, woodland, countryside, nothing phases her. She’s only a small dog, but with a big dog mentality.
Any thoughts about pet welfare?
We are actually very fortunate to live in a country that is superb when it comes to animal welfare. There are still improvements to be made and legislation that needs to be changed. However, it’s also about helping and educating other countries about animal welfare, which is exactly why I support Wild at Heart Foundation and the new Battersea Academy.
In the UK, people really have to think about the consequences with the obsession of designer dogs, and the illegal breeding and importing of these breeds to meet the demand. People are choosing dogs because of what the look like, not because a certain breed suits their lifestyle and living arrangements. In London especially I have seen lots of working breeds. These dogs need a tremendous amount of exercise, mental stimulation and its something they will not get in London. Owners need to think about the welfare of the dog and how suitable a certain breed is for the lifestyle they lead, not just based on what the dog looks like.
If like Dora, your dog goes everywhere with you, take a look at our exclusive collection of dog-friendly holidays here. Thank you to David for sharing his love of dogs and the story of how he met Dora.