Annabel Karmel MBE is the leading expert and best selling author on baby food and nutrition. When Annabel isn’t advising mothers around the world on how to feed their offspring healthy meals – her 37 books have been translated into 20 different languages – she enjoys cuddling up to her three dogs, Hamilton, Bono and Sabre and taking them for walks in Hyde Park.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am just launching my own range of baby purées. They are based on favourite recipes from my books and they taste homemade. There are delicious flavours like Apple, Blueberry and Vanilla and Scrumptious Salmon and Sweet Potato.
What are you doing for Christmas and are your dog’s part of your plans?
Last weekend we visited the Santa Paws Grotto in Pimlico which has been set up by my friend Henrietta from Lily’s Kitchen. We took the three dogs and they ate some Christmas dinner and had their photo taken with Santa wearing silly Christmas hats – it was enormous fun.
We will definitely be opening our Doggie Christmas Treat Boxes on Christmas day. Sabre my Golden Retriever puppy was particularly partial to the Christmas cracker at the photo shoot. Hamilton has been carrying round the Gingerbread Man squeaky toy in his mouth and Bono has been devouring the edible Christmas tree made out of doggie biscuits so I know they are already fans of the PetsPyjamas treat box.
Tell us about your three dogs?
Hamilton is five years old. He is a Samoyed with thick white fur and loves the cold weather as he was bred to herd reindeer in Siberia and like most Samoyeds he is pretty talkative. Needless to say he’s not too keen on the summer. Three years ago we nearly lost him as he was dognapped (someone jumped in my dog walkers van and drove off with him inside) he went missing for 10 days which was unbearable and I was so lucky to get him back. There is nothing nicer than snuggling up on the sofa with him.
Bono is an American Cocker Spaniel. He is four years old. He follows me everywhere and is incredibly affectionate. He has the longest ears and eyelashes and he has thick furry paws – three are golden and one is white. He likes rummaging around in my room and is particularly partial to socks, consequently I have very few matching pairs. He is the fussy eater and yes I have been known to cook for him!
Sadly our Golden Retriever Oscar died earlier this year from Lymphoma. He was only five years old and despite putting him on a course of chemotherapy we couldn’t save him. We really miss Oscar. We now have his half-brother, Sabre a very handsome six month old white Golden Retriever puppy with beautiful big brown eyes and an insatiable appetite. He is already pretty big and I adore him. It’s amazing how quickly they become part of the family. Like the others he now follows me everywhere and they all sleep at the foot of my bed.
Do they get along well?
Sabre likes chewing Bono’s ears or occasionally his tail. Luckily Bono is good natured and they get along very well. Bono likes to hide under my chair and he and Sabre play and pretend to fight but it’s all really very friendly. Hamilton prefers his space and loves sitting outside especially where it is cold so when I’m writing my books, he sits in the garden and can see me through the glass door. As soon as I move out of his sight he barks and wants to be let back in.
What difference have the dogs made to your life?
I can’t imagine life without my three dogs. I love the welcome I get even if I have only been out for five minutes. Also they always seem to know what mood you are in and there is nothing more calming than cuddling and stroking them after a stressful day.
Any amusing incidents involving your dogs?
Last year we went to stay in a lovely country house hotel called Woolley Grange with the three dogs. When they arrived, Hamilton was so excited that he started running around the grounds and ran straight into a lily pond with a huge splash not realising that it was water. So you could just see this big ball of white fur submerging into the dark pond and his little face then popping up all bedraggled with weeds hanging over his nose. His little face looking so surprised. We had to fish him out and as he shook himself off we all got soaked.
During the week when I am working I have a wonderful dog walker called Jamie who takes the three dogs to Hampstead Heath. At the weekend I take the dogs to Primrose Hill or Regents Park which I love. However, although we live in London we also have a big garden at home where they can run around.
Do you have any strong views about animal welfare?
Yes I cannot bear cruelty to animals and recently my daughter and I went to visit Battersea Dogs Home. She was convinced that I would come back with another dog but I had to force myself to resist although I was tempted. I was so impressed with the medical facilities and the care each dog is given. I would urge anyone looking for a dog to go and visit as they have some gorgeous dogs there looking to be adopted and if I was going to get another dog, I would go to Battersea Dogs Home.
Any favourite places you like to take them? Parks, restaurants, cafes etc
There is a private club in Mayfair called 5 Hertford Street and you can take your dog there for dinner. They can sit beside you on a plush red banquette. It’s fabulous and they will give your dog a bowl of freshly cooked roast chicken.