Two and a half years ago, lawyer Michelle took on a temporary role at Natural Instinct following her heart and a lifetime of love for dogs. Michelle hasn’t looked back. She lives on a farm with four dogs who have acres of land to run free (and dictate the household’s body clocks), while her day job is Acting Managing Director of raw food brand Natural Instinct, working to give pets a healthier diet and happier lifestyle.
What are you working on at the moment?
At Natural Instinct I am working on some delicious new recipes for our wonderful four-legged friends. I work closely with our amazing product development team that includes pet nutritionists and our homeopathic veterinary surgeon Sue Armstrong. Watch this space!
What breeds are your dogs and why did you choose them?
I have four dogs; a White Parson’s Jack Russell Lily (6) who is a complete diva and wild child rolled into one; Lily’s daughter Twinkle (4) whose daddy is a Bischon Frise; Morgan (13), a tri-coloured Border collie we rescued 13 years ago; and Charlie (2), a red merle Border Collie with one blue and one green eye.
I live on a farm and have a very outdoor lifestyle breeding racehorses and Belted Galloway cows, so breeds such as Russells and Collies suit my lifestyle and energy perfectly. They have the free run of the farm and my house, which is often covered in mud!
My very first dog was my 10th birthday present and a very cute tiny Yorkshire Terrier called Candy. She and I were inseparable. I had a period of time when due to family and work commitments I couldn’t have a dog of my own but as soon as I was in a position to provide a good home for a dog, I jumped at the chance. I bought a Bernese Mountain Dog, Geli, who was soon joined by six other dogs! This was a baptism of fire for my long suffering husband.
Do they come with you to work?
I occasionally bring Lily to work but only when she stands at the front door and insists on joining me. My dogs have a lovely time at home with Greg, who manages the farm when my husband and I are at work.
The dogs do love the occasional visit to Natural Instinct, especially on days when we are making tripe.
What difference do they make to your life?
I grew up with dogs and have always been an absolute animal lover. My dogs are everything to me. They are a constant source of joy and amusement even when they insist on getting up at 5am. I have never had a period in my life when I have been without a dog or a cat – there is no doubt that pets make you focus on everything that is good in life.
Do you take them on holiday with you?
As my dogs live in doggie heaven it would be very unfair to take them out of their home environment. I often talk about taking them on holiday but they are far too naughty and wild I’m afraid. They have the run of acres and acres of land and two rivers to swim in! When my husband and I go on holiday we are lucky to have Greg move into our house and my step-son, his wife and our two grandchildren live next door and keep the doggies company too.
Do they have any funny ways or are there any funny incidents involving them?
Lily loves to chase anything – it was hilarious to watch her chase a squirrel up a tree that was overhanging the River Loddon, only to run off the end of the branch and into the river. Luckily she’s a great swimmer.
Lily rules the house and insists that we all fit in with her body clock, waking up at 5am and going to bed at 9pm!
Is there anything you feel strongly about regarding pet welfare?
I hate any form of neglect or cruelty but I am particularly saddened by the number of puppy farms that are in operation. I admire the work that Marc Abraham and PupAid are doing to ban puppy farms.
Do you take the dogs with you to restaurants and pubs and do you have any favourites?
Absolutely not they would cause chaos! However, I do enjoy going to the Windmill Pub in Windlesham with our friend’s very well behaved dogs. We had lunch there recently with Anna Webb of the Barking Blondes and the lovely Mr Binks.
Until recently I had only ever worked in the legal profession, latterly as a solicitor and director of a local law firm. My best friend – a psychologist – always told me I should follow my heart and work with animals. This was a great sense of amusement to me but at the age of 50 I became involved with Natural Instinct which combines my love of dogs and cats and a strong interest in nutrition. I do truly believe that we and our pets are what we eat.
I now get to come to work and cuddle puppies and dogs and make an amazing product.
Sponsored by Natural Instinct.