TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson is currently working on a new idea for a second novel following her autobiography, Honest, released in 2002. Ulrika tells us why her Bulldogs Nessie and Dexter are relentlessly naughty but have helped her enormously with her battle with depression, and in turn looks after them with natural raw food brand Natural Instinct – “Every dog should be on this diet”.
What are you working on at the moment?
I spend much of my time writing for newspapers but I’m also working on a new idea for a second novel. I’m also working on my patience…
What breeds are Nessie and Dexter and why did you choose them?
Bulldogs. We chose them because we didn’t want massive dogs, nor did we want tiny, tiny dogs. Bullies are big small dogs. They have an amazing temperament. They may look ugly to you – but to us they’re just so beautiful. Also, they’re notoriously stubborn and can be hard to train due to this – and I love a challenge. They have so much personality – which makes for a very busy, lively household.
How long have you had your dogs?
We got Nessie just over four years ago and Dexter two years later. We got Dexter because we were worried Nessie was a bit down in the dumps. She took one look at Dexter and rolled her eyes and sighed, and that was the start of a very beautiful love-hate relationship.
I work mostly from home, so I have them with me all day. One lies under my desk while I’m writing and the other is on a sheepskin behind my chair.
What difference do they make to your life?
A tremendous difference. I couldn’t live without them. I centre my life around the children and the dogs. They’ve been very good for my depression because they’re such excellent company (now I really do sound mad…). But going for daily walks helps me tremendously. Not only does it get me out of the house but you invariably meet other dog owners who are – as a general rule – very nice.
Do you take them on holiday with you and if so where?
We haven’t taken them on holiday but plan to next summer. They MAY come with us to Sweden OR we’ll head to an English seaside resort.
Do they have any funny ways or are there any funny incidents involving them?
Too many to mention, probably. When we first got Dexter, Nessie took him down to our garden pond and tried to drown him – I’m certain of it. Dexter loves to eat flip-flops and so far he’s broken about six pairs of Havaianas. He’s relentlessly naughty. I had hoped he’d grown out of it by now (2 ½) but then I have to remember he’s a man and men never grow up.
Is there anything you feel strongly about regarding pet welfare?
It always breaks my heart when I see dogs have been maltreated. I can’t ever imagine what would possess someone to be cruel to an animal. Equally, I’m quite surprised many owners feed their dogs such rot. Mine have been on raw food (we use food brand Natural Instinct) for the past couple of years and the transformation is incredible. They’re healthier, the right weight, beautiful coats, and teeth that Simon Cowell would be proud of.
We think so much about what we eat but no one stops to think about what they’re feeding their dogs.
Do you take Nessie and Dexter with you to restaurants and pubs and do you have any favourites?
We sometimes take our dogs to a local restaurant/pub, The Crooked Billet in Stoke Row – but only if we’re going to sit outside.
Sponsored by Natural Instinct.