Tell us a bit about the Londog and what inspired you to start it
When Argo, my partner and I first moved to London from mainland Europe, we had a bit of a cultural shock about how different was a lifestyle with a dog in the UK capital. What felt so normal back in our hometown, like bringing dogs almost anywhere, from restaurants to cafes, shops to banks and post offices, and even supermarkets, was not to be given for granted in London. We could not find much online about what we were interested in, including about dog-friendly places, dog parks and things to do, so The Londog blog was born, with the aim of sharing information to make other dog owner's lives easier.
On the other end, upon a friend’s recommendation we attended the Battersea annual dog show and a dog festival out of London where Argo had a blast diving into a pool and we were mesmerised by them as there was nothing of the kind in our home-country at the time, and we couldn’t get enough of dog events. So it was something that ended up on the blog.
Looking back, The Londog has had quite an evolution over time and at the same time, I think the dog landscape has changed a lot in the past few years. I have realised that there are many ways of owning a dog and different lifestyles and the blog is not necessarily for all of them or even tries to be. That’s one of the reasons why a couple of years back I shifted the blog’s focus and started “Things to do with your dog” (#thingstodowithyourdog) to increasingly focus on dog adventures, which are the soul of my way of living with my dog and other people I hope to help finding more and more dog-friendly activities.
Tell us about Argo and how he came into your life
My partner and I were living in a big flat with his (snoring champion) rescue English Bulldog Winston, at the time. He asked to get another dog and my answer was a firm no. As you will guess, probably not so firm, given that as soon as I saw a litter of rescue mutts a dog charity had just brought from Southern Italy and were desperately looking for a loving home, I said OK.
Argo was a threeish-month old cotton butt, not larger than a shoe, crying for attention in the pen with his brothers. We adopted him completely oblivious of his future size (hint: large!), his hyperactivity and his joy for life. My idea of being a relatively experienced dog owner came out of the experience completely crushed. The first couple of years were tough (he was destructive, suffered from separation anxiety, was awful on the lead and more), but a number of dog trainers, lots of determination and trial and error attempts later, he finally grew into a lovely dog, though still full of beans in some circumstances.
How does having dog fit into your general working day?
Since lockdown I have been lucky enough to be working from home, which has had the great perk of spending more time with Argo. We go for longer walks in the morning before starting the day and the after-work walks are a great way to wind down after a working day, especially when they are very busy. Argo tends to nap a lot during the day, though no matter how asleep he may be, he is fast to peek from the kitchen counter as soon as he hears the fridge opening.
When you’re not working where do you like to head out to with Argo?
I love discovering new places and dog-friendly activities, so I always on the look for something new. It was a very proud moment discovering that Tower Bridge is dog-friendly a couple of year back, for instance, and going on a dog-friendly llama trekking in Surrey Hills.
In general, I tend to like outdoor activities best, as I think for a dog they are probably the most enjoyable, but I also love to involve him in indoor ones where I get to make him part of things I am interested in
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk, and what do you carry them in?
I before lockdown I switched to Adios Plastic doggy poo bags and will never go back - they are 100% corn starch and love their feel at the touch as well. I normally ditch them in one of my small Italian leather bags, or if I want to travel lighter I put them in my jacket’s pockets. I sometimes carry treats in a tin too, but often forget to refill.
If we are heading to a dog park where he can be off-leash, I make sure to bring two tennis balls and a plastic bag for wrapping them on the way home.
I also use a rope figure of eight leash which I fit as figure of eight when spotting squirrels or foxes, as Argo is a very strong boy.
What adventures do you have planned with Argo for later this year?
Earlier this year we spent a few weeks in Italy, travelling around Tuscany and other regions. Argo loved it there, especially the early starts in the morning, getting to the beach at 6am when there was nobody around and he could have good runs and swims, and of course the wild boar festival where he hoovered leftovers and crumbles on the floor.
At the moment due to the restrictions we have no travelling plans for the next few months, but we hope to visit some woodlands and small towns just out of London that we have never visited yet.