Emily recently welcomed Alan into her world, a very cute but mischievous long eared pup all the way from Cyprus. We thought it was the perfect time to discuss all things dog and how deer antlers have become her most valued working tool.
Tell us about Alan and how he came into your life.
After nagging at my other half for years about getting a dog, I eventually won him over and we started researching breeds and looking at potential charities to adopt from. I became a bit obsessed with the Wild at Heart Foundation website and Instagram account, every day feeling helpless and heartbroken by all of the Cypriot, Romanian, Greek (the list goes on) dogs that needed a forever home. It wasn’t long before a little long-eared pup called Loco won us both over. He was born at a rehoming centre in Cyprus after his mum was taken in as a pregnant stray. Loco came to us at 4-months-old and was renamed Alan.
How does Alan fit into a general day working at Pet Stories?
Alan doesn’t really fit into my working day; the day is more worked around him. If I’ve got a shoot, he’s fine being left alone for a few hours. We’ve been really lucky in the sense that he doesn’t get anxious or distressed, and he’s also really well toilet trained. I’ve found that on the days when I’m working on edits or admin based tasks at home, routine is key. Without his regular play dates in the park, he’s so full of beans and wants to chew/rip up everything in sight.
His deer antler has become my most valued work tool. As soon as he starts chewing or pawing for attention, I’ll replace slippers/carpet/furniture legs with his antler and it soon tires him out. Working with Alan is basically like having a baby, and whenever he’s asleep, straight away I’m getting on with as much work as possible. I have to remind myself that he is still only a pup so it’s only natural for him to want attention. I’m hoping that eventually he will accompany me on my shoots, earning his keep as the little Pet Stories mascot he’s become!
When you’re not working where do you and Alan like to hang out?
When me and Al aren’t at home, we’re either in our local park where he likes to see his best friends Ruby, Betsy, Tilly, Akka, Lola, Gamble and Dodge (he’s a bit of a ladies’ man). Or we’re at our local coffee shop, Mill Kitchen. This usually consists of me trying not to spill my coffee while Alan pulls on his lead, as he restlessly battles to chew anything and everything under the table. But our favourite thing to do is to go for a long walk in our local woods, Calverley Cutting. I love seeing him in his element as he explores. He zooms about everywhere, overcome by all of the smells, sticking his long nose in any every crevice that takes his fancy. He tends to be the best behaved on these walks too, and I always get a lovely gooey feeling when he trails behind Nik and I. He really trusts us and it’s like we’re a pack, out on an adventure.
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out with Alan and what do you carry them in?
We literally never leave the house without his antler (or what we like to call his unicorn horn). We actually left it in a pub once and when we realised it was missing, rang the pub in despair. We had to drive back and collect it. We also pack a mini Tupperware of cheese for Alan, water and a towel. Who knows where the day may take us? This all usually gets shoved in a canvas bag, but since receiving a Fetch & Follow tote, we’ve now dubbed this as Alan’s bag. He really likes it :)
What adventures do you and Alan have planned for the rest of the year?
With my job being so sporadic, we don’t have many big adventures planned for this year. I have family up in the borders, so we try to get up there as often as we can. One of our favourite days out is to the deserted beaches on the North East coast. Alan loves it, so no doubt we’ll have lots more days at the beach to come. We also have a day planned to meet up with Alan’s siblings. Since adopting from The Wild at Heart Foundation, we’ve been so fortunate to stay in touch with all of Alan’s littermate’s pawrents. On a group message, we share photos and videos on the pups’ progress, as well as lots of advice! I feel so lucky to be able to do that and I can’t wait to reunite our Loco pup with his brothers and sisters.