Travel Editor of Grazia and dog-blogger, Nicholas Kynaston takes his Labradoodle Barney with him on all his UK travel assignments. He tells us how Barney has had a massive effect on him and that the cute pooch can crack the most hard-hearted canine-phobics.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have just got back from Peru and have finished writing about my travels over there for the Daily Mail. I am now in the midst of planning summer features for the publications I am travel editor of – Grazia and Essentials. I am setting up a trip to Transylvania in Romania for Grazia as I like to tell readers about exciting new destinations they might not ever have thought about going to.
What breed is your dog and why did you choose him?
Barney is a Labradoodle – his mum was a black Labrador and his dad a white Poodle. He got more of the Lab coat than the Poodle one, so looks more like a Lab with a beard than a curly coated Poodle as some of his siblings do.
We chose a Labradoodle as a few years previously I’d edited a book on Poodles and found out that Poodle crosses tended to be very intelligent and shed less than most other dogs. As soon as we saw Barney’s picture it was love at first sight – we drove all the way from London to Barnstaple to pick him up.
How do your friends get on with Barney?
My friends love Barney. He has such a lovely, friendly, outgoing personality that even the most hard-hearted canine-phobic is cracked by his charm eventually.
How long have you had him?
We’ve had Barney since he was an eight-week-old puppy – that’s over 9 years ago now. When we first got him, Labradoodles weren’t so well known in the UK but after a year or so suddenly they got very fashionable. He’s definitely ahead of the curve!
Does he come with you to work?
Being a journalist I am very lucky in that I can work from home, so Barney is nearly always with me. When I have meetings I try to schedule them at a dog-friendly café close by so I can bring him along.
What difference does he make to your life?
Barney has had a massive effect on me. Thanks to him I think I am fitter than I have ever been as he needs a good long walk every day. When we were buying our car we even took him along to make sure that he would fit comfortably in the back!
Do you take Barney on holiday with you and if so where?
We love to travel with him in the UK, and my job means that I have to, so whether a place is dog-friendly or not dictates whether it’s me or someone else in the team who goes to review it. We haven’t taken him abroad yet – although his pet passport is all up-to-date and crying out to be used!
Does he have any funny ways?
Barney is very protective over our house and hates it when urban foxes come into the garden. You only have to say the word ‘fox’ and he starts to go crazy, barking and desperately looking to see where the intruder is! This made things a little difficult one day when I was speaking to a Mr Fox on the telephone. Every time I said his name, our conversation would be drowned out by the sound of Barney barking!
Anything you feel strongly about regarding pet welfare?
With dog ownership comes a sense of responsibility so it saddens me when I read horror stories in the news about animals that have been abused or kept in dreadful conditions and then the perpetrators let off with a just fine or a ban on keeping animals for only a few years.
Do you take Barney with you to restaurants?
We try and include Barney as much as we can when we go out, so we know most of the dog friendly pubs in South West London! Our favourite is the Orange in SW1 – they do a great Sunday roast – Barney loves the beef there! If we are taking him to Clapham Common we’ll often stop by at Gastro, on Venn Street – an authentic French bistro, where the staff makes Barney feel very welcome – we often leave with a bone for him to chew on and then bury in the garden!
Where is Barney’s favourite park?
Usually we’ll take Barney to Clapham Common, Brockwell Park or Battersea Park. Battersea is a particular favourite of mine as I love the part of it that backs onto the the Thames, with the Buddhist Pagoda giving to it a serene, slightly surreal feel. At weekends if we have a little more time to spare, we’ll head over to Hyde Park and the adjoining Kensington Gardens. We’re so lucky to have this big green space in the heart of the city and Barney absolutely loves it here.