Pooch groomed for fame
TEA, the sleek and brooding afghan hound, captured the public’s heart when her photo went viral but now owner Luke Kavanagh says the attention has “gone a little crazy”.
Kavanagh was inundated with more than 30 requests from national and international media, along with 20 Facebook inbox messages, within just a few hours of Tea’s story being published by NewsLocal last month.
“My kids are stoked. They love that she’s popular, and she loves them the most, which makes them popular,” he says.
But what does Kavanagh think about the fame?
“It’s exhausting,” he says. “People want Skype interviews and permission for photos ... So many places are showing her picture, one was a national breakfast show in America.
“Friends are tagging me on newsfeeds from the UK, Ireland, Spain, America, Korea and India.
“But in my community, or outside the home, everything is still very normal.”
As for Tea, she may not have booked any paying jobs since her fame skyrocketed, but Kavanagh admits he has been tempted to take her out of retirement.
“I’m going to be honest, I have thought about it but, since I’ve clipped her coat, it won’t happen ... but it grows back, so I wouldn’t rule anything out,” he says.
Kavanagh hopes all the attention highlights the importance of responsible purebred breeding.
“Tea’s breeders helped me so much when we first got her, they taught me how to bath her and groom her. I was just this Aussie bloke who didn’t know anything about show dogs and they really took their time to teach me,” he says.
But Tea is not just a pretty face; the five-year-old is also a regular blood donor, helping to save the lives of dogs in need. “Keeping her healthy and strong is nice for shows but she also donates her blood,” he says.
The life of a celebrity dog can be demanding but Kavanagh is happy to do it.
“Definitely no regrets,” he says.
The Kavanagh family and their afghan hound Tea. Picture: John Appleyard