24% of homes in the UK own a dog, thats a pretty high percentage.. But within the military life that percentage probably goes up to about 90%. Where we’re based currently, pretty much every house on our street owns a dog, myself included!
I have always been a lover of all animals, growing up I so desperately wanted as many animals as I could, when I was about 4 my parents decided to let me & my sister get guinea pigs – as you can imagine I was practically beside myself with excitement. I finally had my own pet! We named them Bubble & Squeak & they were the friendliest little guys you could imagine. As I got older, I was still adamant that I wanted a dog, cats were out of the question as my Mum is allergic (I had suggested we get a sphinx cat so the hair wouldn’t be an issue – I had done my research!). So finally when I was 10 the rents took me to the Blue Cross to see if there were any dogs suitable for us.. That’s when we met Smudge, an 8 month old Terrier Cross, she was the calmest & quietest dog in the place, which naturally sold her to my Dad. The anxious wait to see if she had been reserved turned to the impatient – what felt like 5 years- wait to get all of her paperwork sorted before we could bring her home for good. We had many adventures with her & she was my best friend growing up, she was always there for a good time or to cuddle when we were sad. I loved her dearly. She has since been gone almost 5 years now, whenever I go back to my parents house it still feels strange without her.
After living together for a year, Dan & I got married & subsequently moved into military housing where we could finally begin our search for our own dog.. & there begins the adventure with our Wolfdog, Lola.
I think apart from my absolute obsession with anything cute & fluffy, I really wanted to feel that companionship like I had growing up with Smudge. I couldn’t wait to have a dog in the house,. For me they just make a house a home. So I got to thinking, “why do so many military homes have dogs?”. For one, I know first hand that this life is incredibly lonely at times, having Lola here when Dan is away makes me feel so much more at ease, she keeps a listen out for me with her gigantic ears & is just a happy soul to be around when I’m feeling lonely. They get you outside, – no matter what the weather, if they want to go out.. You’re going out! It’s a great way to make sure you’ve had some fresh air & exercise. As I don’t have any children, I don’t have little people to be chasing after making the time disappear before my eyes when I’m on my own, so having Lola definitely keeps me busy – she’s a big dog & gets up to lots she probably shouldn’t.. In her defence she probably thinks that my garden needs re-modelling. I, however, don’t appreciate the holes she likes to dig in the lawn.
Anyone, anywhere, who has ever owned a dog at some point in their lives are guilty of one thing – we all like to predict what we think our dogs are thinking. Lola can give the most judgemental looks that make me laugh so much, I’m always wondering what’s going through her mind that matches that particular expression.. I probably didn’t give her enough treats or she watched me eat the last bite of my food & thought ‘you bitch, you didn’t give me any of your dinner!’ Who else wonders what their dog would sound like if they had a human voice? No..? Just me? This got me thinking of my next project..
I’m a part of a brilliant network for all the wives & girlfriends of Royal Marines. They’re an absolutely lovely bunch & always willing to help out a fellow ‘wag’. I put out a plea to those who own dogs to send me a picture to illustrate from for my project, I was inundated with photos I struggled to narrow down my options! With that I have also asked them to let me know what having their dog means to them in this weird & wonderful life & it’s been great to know I’m not alone with how I feel about Lola being the best friend a girl could have when their partner is deployed.
I’m so pleased with how these illustrations came out & I really hope I captured some fab expressions from everyones gorgeous pooches. Looking at the images, I got my thinking cap on & made my own predictions of these dogs thoughts & expressions to create a range of relatable & humorous greeting cards.
As always my main aim is to make people giggle with my cards, in the hope that someone out there feels the same way as I do! But I also really wanted to pay homage to these incredible animals that truly help us so much without even realising it. Not all heroes wear capes, some have 4 legs & boopable noses.
Please note I have added the owners write-ups to the products so you can see what each puppy means to someone.