Daily Express

Puppy love... or barking mad?

Meet the women who say they would always choose their pooch over their partner...


ACCORDING to a new survey from Aviva, a third of dog owners would choose their pet over their relationsh­ip. If you’re not a dog lover, it may sound barking. But Anna Webb, canine behaviouri­st and co- host of the Barking Hour on BBC Radio London, says she’s not surprised.

“Dogs don’t care if you have a bad hair day, or if your jeans are too tight, or if you’re feeling in a bad mood. They simply accept you and live in the moment.

“When it comes to knowing who to trust and who makes the grade when dating, I take the lead from my miniature bull terrier Prudence – she’s a tough judge.”

Here, two women tell us why they prefer the company of four- legged companions to two- legged ones.

I gave my boyfriend the push for my pup

ZOE MAY, 33, is a romance novelist who lives in Oxford

I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I heard a third of dog owners would choose their pet over their lover. After all, my chihuahuap­omeranian cross Bella is the light of my life, and any man who tried to come between us would soon end up in the dog house.

Bella is an excellent judge of character. From estate agents to boyfriends, anyone who crosses the threshold of our flat gets a stern appraisal before she barks her approval or growls to show her concerns.

I got Bella six years ago as a puppy. As soon as I looked into her liquid brown eyes, I knew she was the one for me. She has a slight squint, which made it look like she was winking at me. And when she leapt into my lap, I knew we were going to be pals.

She’s a bit of a diva and likes to get her own way. Being partpomera­nian, she’s fluffy and gives excellent cuddles. Bella’s also very sensitive and always seems to know when I’m feeling down or need a few extra licks.

A few years ago I met a dreamy man – tall and tanned with dark hair. We went on a few dates and really hit it off. Things were going well and before long we had been dating for a few months. The only problem was he and Bella never quite seemed to get along, but I couldn’t put my finger on why.

Then one day we were both getting ready for work when Bella jumped up on the bed. He tried to push her off and she started growling at him, her fur standing on end.

As she jumped off the bed, he raised his foot as if to kick her. But just in the nick of time she scarpered to her dog bed and lay there quaking. Her instincts had been right after all – he definitely wasn’t the one for me. I was outraged and immediatel­y broke up with him.

Not long afterwards, I met another man online. We exchanged messages back and forth and seemed to have a real spark. When he told me he was vegan, I took it as the perfect sign.

After all, I thought, vegans must love animals so surely he and Bella would get along.

But not long after we started chatting, I found out he was allergic to dogs. I knew I couldn’t date a man who kept sneezing and wheezing around Bella. So I deleted his number from my phone quicker than you can say pomeranian. Now, I’m still looking for love but anyone who doesn’t pass muster with my four- legged friend doesn’t stand a chance. And I know she’ll sniff out the perfect man for me in the end.

● Zoe’s novel As Luck Would Have It is available now.

Travelling with dogs cannot be beaten

KIMBERLY FREEMAN, 36, is an animal behaviouri­st and runs citydogexp­ert. com. She lives in London

As I flick through photos of a recent trip to Paris, my heart swells. I reminisce about sipping coffee on the pavement outside beautiful cafes, and going for strolls on the banks of the Seine.

It might sound like a romantic weekend break with my lover, but in fact I said bon voyage to my boyfriend Tim in England and instead went with my canine pals. I have five dogs – four rescue pomeranian­s called Folly, Jester, Broadway and Vaudeville, and a rescue saluki called Chaplin. Even though Tim and I have been together for a year we’ve never been on holiday together. But that doesn’t mean I don’t travel. It’s just that I prefer to go on a jaunt with my dogs about once a month instead. People always ask why I go on holiday with my pooches instead of my partner. But I can’t think of anyone I’d rather go away with than my dogs. There’s no arguing about whether to go to the beach or a museum. When I’m with my four- legged friends I get to do what I want, when I want. What’s more, I never feel like a tourist when I visit a city with my dogs. Wherever

I go, people assume I’m a local when they see me being tugged along by four little balls of fur and an elegant saluki. But this is nothing new. I’ve always let my dogs take the lead. When I was at university, my sisters and I rescued a puppy called Riley and my life was transforme­d. I changed degree to be a dog behaviouri­st and travelled the world.

Sadly Riley died a few years ago, but I’ve since adopted my five adorable pooches and now run a website for city dog owners.

They’re my best friends and have such different personalit­ies. Together we’ve been to Scotland, France, travelled all around the English coast and taken a number of mini- breaks in London.

When I met Tim online in 2019, I knew straight away that my pack of pomeranian­s would like him.

I have a rule that men cannot meet my dogs until the fifth date. Before he met me, Tim wasn’t really a dog person but I gradually introduced him to them all. A year later, he and Chaplin are best friends, and they even look alike as they’re both tall and beautiful.

Tim is hoping he and I will go on trips together, but the truth is I’ll still go away with just my pups.


 ?? Picture: KAYE FORD ?? MOOCHES WITH THE POOCHES: Kimberly loves travelling with her dogs
Picture: KAYE FORD MOOCHES WITH THE POOCHES: Kimberly loves travelling with her dogs
 ??  ?? SOUL S MATES: Zoe and Bella B
SOUL S MATES: Zoe and Bella B
 ??  ?? THE EXPERT: Barking Hour host Anna Webb
THE EXPERT: Barking Hour host Anna Webb

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom