What talking to celebrities has taught me about our love for dogs


I am crouching in the back of my garden, trying to register the sound of my dog ​​barking. With my feet covered in mud, I say over and over to my barrel-bodied little dog, “One more time, and a little louder, Bert. He yells complacently.

That’s when I say to myself: I have become a completely mad dog now and there is no going back.

What is heartwarming is that I am not the only one. As I found out, while recording my new podcast, Who is a good dog?, celebrities, just like the rest of us, don’t like their dog. From Sir Tony Robinson to author Jon Ronson, novelist and screenwriter Juno Dawson, actress Phoebe Tonkin and scientist Pragya Agarwal, it seems dogs are the great leveler and comforter. Indeed, this week Andrew Lloyd Webber revealed that such was the review for the 2019 film version of the Cats musical, that he went out and bought a “therapy dog” to help him out.

As a nation, we rely on our dogs. Twenty-six percent of Britons own one and 2.1 million of us have acquired a ‘lock dog’ – looking for a companion to help us get through these dark days, just like Lloyd Webber. It is estimated that 9.6 million dogs currently live as pets in the UK; enough to fill Wembley Stadium 107 times. There are a lot of dogs and a lot of humans who care about them.

And no matter how famous a person is, no matter how successful a career is, they remain sensitive to the charms of a four-legged companion. They are just as likely to use a specific voice to talk to their dog, imagine what they might say if they could talk, and rescind any promises that pets are not allowed on the voucher. velvet sofa.

They compare their dogs to human children, clean the vomit off their rugs, spend mornings searching for poop bags, and tenderly scoop fox droppings from their dog’s disgusting little mouth.

Almost all of my podcast guests let their dogs sleep on their beds at night – Holly Berry, Sir Tony Robinson’s darling Westie Terrier, slumbers on the headboard just wide enough for a small dog, snoring above Tony and his wife, Lou.

Jon Ronson tries out skits at home, speaking on behalf of his dogs. The vampire diary actress Phoebe Tonkin borrowed a famous friend’s dog to help her get over a breakup (her own dog was stranded in Australia). And Pragya Agarwal’s elderly rescue dog Taylor made fun of a third of her stepmother’s birthday cake, but she styled it by smoothing out the bite marks with icing and serving it. all the same.

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