Tell us a bit about your work and what inspires you?
In 2017, after years of working in office jobs I finally quit the 9 to 5 to dedicate all of my time to illustration, a hobby and passion I'd had since I was a child. Now I'm lucky enough to run my own online shop where I sell animal-themed greetings cards, notebooks, prints and gift wrap. Animals have always been a bit of an obsession of mine, I grew up with dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, and remember my mum nursing unwell hamsters back to health so many times that they all lived abnormally long lives! During my last year of university, Wilbur, my mini-lop rabbit came into my life. He inspired a lot of change in my life in many ways, but when I began to draw him in lots of different styles, my love for studying and illustrating animals really started. And now, with 2 rabbits and 2 dogs, my walls are covered in their portraits!
Tell us about your dog and how they came into your life.
I have 2 dogs, Ralph and Fred, they're both former strays from Romania. We adopted Ralph as a little unwanted black puppy 3 years ago. He was found all alone on the streets at 8 weeks old, sadly we don't know what happened to his siblings or mum, but as soon as I saw his little fluffy face on the shelter's website, I knew I had to have him.
After a lot of thought, we both decided we wanted to adopt another dog in need. Fred had been found on the streets of Bucharest by someone from a shelter, it's likely he was abandoned as he was so friendly. I spotted him on facebook and promptly filled in an adoption form. In June he travelled to the UK and we welcomed him to his new home. Now they're completely inseparable. Wherever Ralph goes, Fred goes too.
How does having a dog fit into your general working day?
The dogs fit in so well with my routine - I'm at home all day so they get a lot of love and attention but they're always so patient when I have really busy days and don't get much spare time. In the morning I send out all of the previous day's orders whilst the dogs both nap (I'm so lucky that they're both so lazy!), we then have our first walk of the day where they can zoom around the fields in the village where we live. Then they're happy to fill their afternoon with napping and playing whilst I work, until our evening walk when zoomies can resume!
When you’re not working where do you like to head out to with the dog?
At the weekend our usual walking spots are the nearby woodland, Cheddar Gorge, Victoria Park in Bath or Frome where we can visit our favourite shop, Winston James Woof and treat the boys to a chew. If the dogs had it their way, every walk would be at the beach, they love Perranporth in Cornwall!
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk, and what do you carry them in?
With having a new rescue dog who needs constant training, I do take a lot on walks. My essentials include a longline for Fred so he can't run off, a few different types of treats, our favourites are good old cheddar cheese and Goodchap's training treats, anything that will keep Fred from pestering Squirrels! I always carry poop bags, usually Adios compostable bags, it makes me feel less guilty about chucking them in the bin! I always bring our Travfurler water bottle in case the dogs get thirsty. And I'll admit I'm the sort of dog parent who will keep some Dogrobes in the car for when it rains or if Ralph pops in a river for a swim. I carry everything in my favourite invention ever - my Barking Bags bag. I honestly don't know how I lived without it.
What adventures do you have planned with your dog for later this year?
After a hectic few months getting this year's Christmas range together, I'm very happy that we have a week-long break in Cornwall coming up this month. We're staying in a house near Boscastle, my favourite place to visit in Cornwall with the dogs. We'll likely spend our time away visiting all of the best beaches for zoomies and meeting other dogs, visiting our favourite dog-friendly cafe's and visit every Cornish pet shop we can find! Later this year we hope to visit the Cotswolds too.