April 03, 2018
"I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.” – Bill Dana
We can’t resist an opportunity to celebrate our furry friends and the undivided attention they give us (or, in the case of cats, that we give them) and so we thought we’d use April as an excuse to focus on the unique affection we share with them.
When a pet takes its first steps into your household, they’re really leaving little pawprints on your heart forevermore. That unforgettable bark, comforting purr or reassuring snuffle is a welcome sound at the end of a long day and there’s nothing better than snuggling together on the sofa. A perfect confidant for the good times and the bad, our pets are often a soothing presence in, what can sometimes be, a chaotic world. Whether they come and keep you company in the bathroom, swat at your face for a morning cuddle, or stroll over conveniently when you’ve just served dinner, they’re always in the way at just the right moments – but we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Our year is filled with occasions to appreciate those we love, such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and general momentous life events. Whilst many of us choose to celebrate our pet’s birthdays and include them at Christmas, we’ve decided to shower them with that little bit of extra love and attention they deserve this April.
What better way than by introducing you to the team’s four-legged companions? We’ll be sharing a lot about them on our social media over this month and we hope to hear all about yours too. We know that your pets play a significant role in your life story and we want to share in those special moments that stand out to you.
Betsy, our founder, introduces her dog:
Willow isn't our first go at the 'Collie" rodeo, so we knew what to expect with the breed in general before we got her, and she certainly was a cheeky little pup. But that's okay because we had our own cheeky little munchkin at home too, Ben was just five when we brought her home. I'm a big believer in never leaving children and dogs alone, they just don't know how to appropriately respond to each other, so quite quickly both youngsters learned to come to me for comfort or protection if their boundless energies led to a scratched arm or a trodden-on tail. So I don't know if it was that factor, or just Willow's pure personality, that led to us eventually referring to her as a total princess. She is very demanding of cuddles and strokes first thing in the morning or when we get home from work. If she can, she will clamber up on to you and sit on your lap, oblivious to the fact that she is very far from lapdog size. She is ridiculously pretty and is capable of striking a pose with the best of them - hence the princess (although she can nose dive a muddy puddle when she wants)
Of course, her breed traits come through strongly and she loves to herd us when we are out walking. If we want her to have a great run we just leave Ben (now 11) at the swings end of the park and walk to the other side and Willow will spend the entire time running between her separated sheep trying to get them in one manageable group! She voices her frustration loudly with excitable barks and high-pitched singing. Which is okay in the park, but not so great when we had to leave her at the school gates at morning drop off.
Like all pampered pooches you'll mostly find Willow sunbathing in a patch of light in the kitchen, or curled up by the log burner, but always in whatever room the majority of the sheepeople are in!
Rachel, our graphic designer, introduces her dog:
Misty is an absolutely nutty dog and is the life and soul of the household! She’s a pointer-boxer cross and although she’s 12 now, she’s very young at heart and still thinks she’s a puppy. Her 2 favourite things are snow and sand and during our recently chilly weather her sandbox got filled with snow – her idea of total heaven! She has a special seat in the car that is designated for her and is definitely Queen Bee on road trips. She loves lots of long walkies and laying in the sun – bring on the summer!
Catherine, our office manager, introduces her cat:
When I first mentioned to my friends and family that I was hoping to get a cat, the overwhelming reaction was shock! "But you hate cats....", " Dogs are more your thing...." etc etc.
For the most part, they were correct. I AM a dog person, have never warmed to cats and had vowed never to become one of those crazy cat ladies. However, here we are.
I wanted my young children to experience the joy and responsibility that owning a pet brings and as my landlord categorically refused permission for a dog, and any small rodent style animal gives me the heebie jeebies (Sorry Stuart!).....a cat seemed like the only option.
Whilst a kitten would have been adorable, we decided that a rescue cat would suit our family more and the obsessive search began! I visited local animal shelters, but nothing seemed quite right. Browsing Facebook one evening, I saw a beautiful silver-grey cat on the Cats Protection page and fell in love. 5 days later after being vetted by the charity, 18-month-old Coco was ours!
2 months on, she is the undisputed matriarch and princess of our family doling out affection and disdain in equal doses. She has settled in beautifully and we can't imagine ever being without her. She tolerates the cuddles and fuss made of her with restrained grace and is to be found either sitting on our garden fence guarding us from other neighbourhood cats or sleeping curled up on "her" armchair in my living room.
I am now proud to be called a Cat Lady and spend a significant portion of time and money browsing the aisles of my local pet store....and wouldn't have it any other way.
Stuart, our freelance designer, introduces his rats:
Cookie and Smudge
Rats are incredibly inquisitive, and Smudge and Cookie are no exception! They can’t wait to find out what’s going on and are desperate to come out to play. Both Smudge and Cookie are very sociable, and their absolute favourite part of the day is when they get evening cuddles. They love being petted and have been known to enjoy a good back rub. Contrary to popular belief domesticated rats are very clean and groom themselves often, just like cats.
Their special party trick is that they can fit themselves into tiny spaces and they’re particularly good at hide and seek!
Smudge & Cookie are the ideal companions as they’re happy to sleep all day while you’re out at work or school and ready to have fun when you get home.
Willow, our new marketing assistant (not to be confused with Willow the dog), doesn’t have her own pet yet but she is auntie to an incredibly spoilt ginger kitty:
Ginger is a very affectionate cat, in fact, he thinks he’s a mini human and loves nothing better than being carried around like a baby (I think this comes from being an only child). Anything you thought you knew about cats, you don’t after meeting him. His first major catch was a very stubborn autumn leaf, it took some expert hunting skills, but he persevered and eventually won the fight. He then proudly trotted through his cat flap with it between his teeth to present to me. He was less successful, however when faced with a (slightly) faster opponent. Whilst I was cat sitting recently he lost a battle with a particularly fierce slug that stuck to his fur where he couldn’t reach (touché slug, touché). Of course, I had the lovely job of trying to extract said slug and clean off the sticky gunk.
He loves nothing better than coming to say good morning at 5 am (my favourite time of the day) by sticking his bum in your face. Although if you turn a light on while he’s trying to sleep he will indignantly put a paw over his eyes. You get the hint, it doesn’t work both ways. We recently discovered he does not like the snow at all, unlike Misty, and he did everything in his power to encourage me to get rid of it (I tried, honest, don’t look at me like that).
When he’s not asleep he will meet you at the end of the road and walk you home, he is a very brave and considerate gentleman. Apart from when someone knocks on the door or the postman arrives, then he scarpers.
Willow's partner also has two very adorable sausage dogs:
Truffle and Spice
Though they're litter sisters and Miniature Wire-Haired Dachshunds, Truffle and Spice couldn't be more different from one another. Spice is mischievous, trotting around in search of food, sleeping in nooks and crannies and glancing at you from the corner of her eyes. Truffle, in comparison, plods around after you like a loveable bag of spuds, never more than three feet behind and cannot stand being alone. She'll give out a hefty rumble of a bark when she feels she's being ignored, compared to Spice's rapid-fire yaps when excited about the prospect of food. Though only a foot off the ground, they're really big dogs with large hearts and small legs. Both will do anything for food and will be utterly miserable at the prospect of having to go out in the cold, rain or if the weather is just a little bit grey.
At Betsy Benn, our tagline is, A Design for Every Story, and we know you have lots of stories to tell about your pets. To celebrate the important role they play in your life we’ll be running a competition later in the month where you’ll have the opportunity to win one of our beautiful personalised pet silhouette prints:
Keep your eyes peeled on our social media for details on how to enter! Whether you need a gift for the crazy cat lady in your life, a present for your pet or simply a special treat for yourself, then make sure you get involved.
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April 15, 2020
We thought for a long time about whether to have a break, how that would look, what kind of business we would come back to if we did and what our impact is on the other businesses we work with and our customers.