Tell us a bit about Pooches & Prams and how it all started
When you are a new mum you meet so many other new mums, but it was so lovely to meet other mums who had dogs too. Someone to chat to about how the dog and baby were adjusting to life together, how they managed to get everyone out for a walk in the freezing cold and someone to share those daily walks with. I was so grateful to meet fellow dog and baby mama Isobel (we were introduced through a mutual friend), meeting someone who loved their dog as much as I did, and who’d be up for doing to dog friendly coffee shops with the babies was a blessing. We quickly realised that there were other people out there also doing the same and thought how amazing it would be to all connect. So that’s why we started Pooches & Prams, to create a platform for people with dogs and kids, where there is information on everything from keeping kids and dogs entertained at home, teaching them to play together to inspiration for places to visit as a family as well as fun products that can make life with kids and dogs both stylish and practical.
Tell us about your Rupert and how he came into your life.
Rupert is a 5 year old fawn pug, and I’m sure everyone says this but he is the most amazing dog! I’ve always loved dogs and grew up with a beautiful black Labrador called Bertie. Having my own dog is something I’ve constantly thought about but never felt it was the right time until Rupert. I sadly lost my mum in early 2015 (she also loved dogs) and it may sound silly but I just needed a dog in my life after that, I’d had my eye on a breeder for years and she’d just had a litter, it felt like fate (all that was left was to convince my husband). Rupert helped me through the toughest time of my life, he gave me comfort, a focus and his character made me laugh every day, and 5 years later he still does the same. He is a very loving dog, affectionate and gentle pug, he isn’t by any means a ‘chilled out’ dog, and he definitely thinks he’s the boss sometimes! (totally our fault of course) plus he’s SO greedy but he is honestly such a little character and we wouldn’t change him for the world. Even my husband who wasn’t sure about the breed at first, now can’t imagine life without a Rupert in it.
How does Rupert fit into your general day with the kids?
Rupert was our first baby, he had all of our attention for over 2 years so it was a big adjustment for him when Arthur (now 3) and even Fleur (now 4 months) came along. We researched so much about how best to introduce him to the new baby and worked hard to make sure he still felt included. We prepared him as much as we could for the new arrival and I definitely think that helped. He’s been absolutely fine with the ‘baby’ stage and fitted in well, I think he quite enjoyed the long feeding sessions on the sofa as it meant he could get cuddles too. I do think he finds the toddler stage quite tricky (don’t we all!) Arthur is still learning his boundaries and sometimes doesn’t quite understand that Rupert is tired or doesn’t want to play with him all the time, so it’s a balance at the moment between letting them get on with it and develop their relationship but also respecting that Rupert does still need his own space and Arthur needs to respect that. Same goes for the other way as well. Seeing their relationship grow has been wonderful though, and the moments when Arthur is calm and Rupert goes over and sits next to him honestly melts my heart, I hope they have a friendship for many years to come.
Where is your favourite place to take Rupert on an adventure?
We are lucky where we live in North London that we have both more urban parks with lots of noise and smells to keep Rupert stimulated but also have beautiful country parks like Forty Hall, Epping Forest and Lee Valley on our doorstep. Rupert is definitely a people dog rather than a dog’s dog, he’s completely fine with other dogs but isn’t particularly interested in running off and playing in the fields with them, he always sticks quite close to us when off the lead and is happy walking alongside us all so actually the parks where there is lots going on and has short grass and paths he likes the best. We also love going to visit my dad on the Suffolk coast and taking him to one of the dog friendly beaches there, perfect for the kids to run around and Rupert to have a good old trot on the sand. Dreamy.
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk, and what do you carry them in?
Obviously going out for a walk with a dog, a toddler and a baby involves a lot of stuff. I try and keep as organised as possible and split my baby changing rucksack up into different sections. Rupert has a pouch with his bits in, and then Arthur and Fleur have theirs too, this way I can find stuff quickly and easily.
For Rupert I always have;
Eco friendly poo bags - I’m loving adios plastic ones at the moment as they completely breakdown after 3-6 months.
Treats! super important, I would never let Rupert off the lead if I didn’t have treats on me as I can’t run after him as easily when I have the kids so I need to know I can get him back quickly if need be. I’m currently using lily’s kitchen training treats and Beautiful Joe’s dog treats
Fold up water bowl, like most brachycephalic dogs he can’t regulate his body temperature as easily as other breeds so I always have water on hand.
What adventures do you have planned with Rupert and the family for later this year?
We, like many others I’m sure, will be making the most of the UK this year, trips to the seaside, and a holiday rental in the Cotswolds in late October are on the cards. We also want to as a family check out some more dog friendly National Trust places for day trips, stay in a dog and family friendly hotel, and get back to our weekend ritual of finding the best dog and family friendly pubs to eat at.