Pooch groomed for fame

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Maryanne Taouk

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

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