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Fetch & Follow Stories | Samantha & Bill Murray

We first met Samantha and her cheeky side kick Bill Murray when we were based in Netil Market. This character filled Miniature Dachshund instantly stole our hearts, so much so he has actually featured in one of our Fetch & Follow photoshoots.

We spoke to Samantha about how becoming a Freelancer enabled her to welcome a dog into her life and how Bill Murray has become her much loved studio assistant

Tell us about Bill and how he came into your life

4 and a half years ago I made the huge decision to leap into the unsecured world of Freelance Styling. It was the usual story of not being particularly happy in my role and craving a little more creative freedom, however a Bill Murray was also a vital part of my decision. Since moving to London from a small town in Yorkshire, I thought a lot about having a dog to care for and give me that much needed companionship only an animal is capable of. And so, the morning of my first freelance day was dedicated to finding my little pal. All of the research had been done and I knew that a Miniature Dachshund was the only dog for me, I came across an advertisement for some dappled puppies and after a VERY thorough vetting from the breeder my choice was made.Home came the tiny Bill Murray that has rarely been a metre away from my feet ever since.

 How does Bill fit into your general day working?

We spend our days in my Photography Studio – Light Project Photography, where Bill Murray gets love from everywhere – my business partner, clients, delivery drivers (he is especially a huge fan of the UPS lady who has a constant supply of treats in her pocket) and anyone else he encounters in the corridors. Photography Studios are the only working environment that Bill has known and thus he spends most of his days napping or running around inspecting everything is in order. His curiosity and search for attention means he has popped up in many shots over the years, and he is always on hand to snuggle down on a blanket I am prepping to shoot - mid-fold of course.

When you’re not working where do you and Bill like to hang out?

Outside of work we can generally be found in either Clissold Park or by the sea – actually, mostly by the sea. Although not at all a fan of water, Bill Murray is at his happiest when running along a damp sandy beach or munching on a sneaky chip from my boyfriend.

We also have a strong list of local, dog-friendly pubs and restaurants where Bill can be found curled up like a cat and sleeping the time away. Some of our favourites are The Shakespeare - Stoke Newington, Dark Arts - Homerton and Climpson & Sons - Broadway Market

What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk and what do you carry them in?

Since getting Bill Murray, I have become a big fan of the humble pocket. Due to his sausage nature, we discourage him from jumping on to things and walking up and down stairs, so have had to learn to always have a free pair of hands for lifting. This only ever becomes a problem after his routine fox poo rolling in the Park.

Mine and Bill’s dog essentials are - most importantly, Poo Bags / fresh refillable water bottle / flannel for belly and paw cleaning / camera, which incidentally Bill has learnt to run away from and plenty of TREATS! 

What adventures do you and Bill have planned for the rest of the year?

We plan for this to be the year of Kent / Sussex Coast adventures. So far, we have visited Margate, Whitstable and Hastings and intend on doing plenty of walks along the cliffs between towns as many of the beaches are declared dog free between May and September. Bill loves a Fish and Chip lunch stop but am sure all of the walking means the odd chip he manages to steal will not increase his waist size too much.

You can follow Samantha and Bill Murray's adventure together through their instagram pages

Top 5 Dog Friendly Places to Visit | Camden & Primose Hill Area

Regent’s Park is one of the most beautiful park in London and Camden being its neighborood, we went to explore the area to find out about the best places to go to with your dog. Camden can get busy at times and so we thought it might be nice to give you a few tips on the area and give you the best places to go to with your dog after you've been on a long walk in Regent’s park.  

 

THE LORD OF STANLEY

(51 Camden Park Rd, London NW1 9BH)

Obviously we found a lovely pub where both indoor and outdoor areas are brilliant. Lord Stanley’s atmosphere is so friendly that we could easily spend the day there without realizing we are in one of London’s busiest area. The terrace is really nice and the pizzas are unbelievable. Of course dogs are allowed (as long as they don’t mind the resident cat). There are really only good reasons to head there if you’re around the area.

 

THE CAMDEN GARDEN CENTRE

(2 Barker Dr, London NW1 0JW)

If you’re looking to do something a bit different around Camden and are like us at Fetch & Follow (flowers and plants lovers), this is a great place for you and your dog to go. With summer coming what best than a plant shopping session with your dog? This plant nursery has an amazing variety of greenery and its coffee/ lunch area serves the best Greek salad in London.

 

CASA TUA CAMDEN

(176 Royal College St, London NW1 0SP)

This lovely Italian caffe is another gem of a place in the Camden area. We love this little caffe's great vibe. Casa Tua has this real feel of Italy where you can find delicious food and coffee. This is definitely a great place to go and check out after a long walk in the park for a treat. 

 

RIPE KITCHEN

(136 Regent's Park Rd, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8XL)

Ripe Kitchen is located on Regent's Park road and has some delicious sandwiches, fresh juices, smoothies and pastries. Both the indoor and outdoor areas are very cosy to sit with your dog for lunch or afternoon snack. The team is super friendly and the place offers a view of the lovely street it is situated on. A perfect spot for some dog and people watching on a Sunday afternoon.

 

PRIMOSE HILL VILLAGE

(Regent's Park Rd, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8XL)

Regent’s Park road located right by Primose Hill is the cutest and most lively street in the area. The street is great for shopping and an afternoon lunch/ tea with your dog. We particularly love all the cafes and restaurants' terraces bringing a lot of life to the street. It feels like a lovely village away from the city. We like popping by the pet shop to get some treats when we go there and do some shopping. There is a charity shop where dogs are allowed in so we obviously like to pop in and have browse through some beautiful pieces for men, women and the home.

 

Finally, it goes without saying, Primose Hill's highlight is its spectacular view of the whole of London. So get your pup and yourself ready to go up the hill as it's really worth it.

 

Vet in the City | Breaking Down Dog Food Labels

At the beginning of this year we hosted a Fetch & Follow Walk and Talk with our friends Butternut Box and Ciara from Vet in the City. We discussed all things diet related along with tips and ideas on how to feed your dog.

Ciara has been kind enough to share with us her guide on understanding pet food labels. Warning, some of it isn’t very appetising.

Breaking down dog food labels

Have you ever turned a bag of dog food around and looked at the label? If so, you may have felt you needed a degree in nutrition to decipher the ingredients! The terms are vague and confusing.

Did you know whilst the ingredients in human food and farm animal feeds legally need to be individually listed, pet food makers are not required to spell out the exact contents of their dog food? For example, a dog food can be advertised as a beef dish as long as it comprises at least 4% beef! Legally, the other 96% could be a combination of pork, rabbit or any other meat.

The term Complete is a legal definition set by the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF). Complete means that the product contains all the nutrients your pet needs to support its daily life. Complementary pet foods are also available. A complementary food means that other food must be added in order to provide nutritional balance.

Most pet foods are made from a recipe using several ingredients. These ingredients will be listed under Composition , in descending order of weight per moisture content.
E.g. If corn is listed first and poultry second, there is more corn in the food than poultry. Many processed dogs foods will not list a single named meat on the back of the package, despite what may be advertised on the front. This is because the meat is usually a combination of animals. This falls under the loose terms
animal derivatives or meat and bone meal .

Meat and animal derivatives describes animal based ingredients which are by-products of the human food industry. They are the parts of an animal not classed as ‘flesh’ or ‘meat’, and can include internal organs, beaks, feet and egg manufacturing waste.

Meat or bone meal are animal by-products that include organs inedible to humans (eg lung), tendons, carcass remains, feathers and bones. These are treated to high temperatures, dried and ground to a powder format. This animal protein powder is then added into the dog food mixture.

Cereals or grains are a group of ingredients that contain carbohydrates and are used in pet foods, including rice, wheat, barley, sorghum and corn (maize). When used as a collective term, the cereal used can vary from batch to batch. This can allow some manufacturers to take advantage of market prices, using the cereal that is cheapest at the time.

Crude ash or inorganic matter are also legal definitions which are understandably confusing. They are not added as an ingredients but are phrases that refer to the mineral content of the food.

A product can only be labelled as Organic if at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. Organic standards, which apply to both human and pet food ingredients include:
• Cleaning materials and pest control methods are restricted
• Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are strictly prohibited

• Flavourings must be either naturally or organically produced

The term Natural should be used only to describe those pet food ingredients to which nothing has been added and which have been subjected only to such physical processing as to make them suitable for pet food production and maintaining the natural composition. Additionally all pet foods marketed as natural must not contain any chemically synthesised ingredients.

Additives which can be used in pet foods may include vitamins, flavourings, preservatives, antioxidants and colours.

Antioxidants or preservatives must be added to meat meal during its production in order to prevent it from spoiling. These antioxidants can be natural (such as polyphenols and Vitamin E from from vegetables and herbs) or artificial. Artificial preservatives give food a longer shelf life than natural antioxidants. However the most commonly used artificial preservatives in meat and bone meal food stuffs are the controversial and potentially harmful chemicals BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole or E320) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene or E321). By adding an artificial antioxidant to meat meal before it is processed, a manufacturer does not need to declare them on the label.

UK or USA

It’s worth noting, there are differences between pet food legislation in Europe (including the UK) and the US. If reading online, it’s important to check that the source of information is relevant to the country you are based.

What is the best food for my dog?

There are so many different dog foods, the choice is almost overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. The best dog food is

  1. Is complete and balanced and the highest quality ingredients you can afford.

  2. Suits their digestion, tummy and health

  3. One your dog enjoys eating!

This is often not one in the same. Some dog parents may wish to feed only the finest organic beef and bone marrow but their dog and their tummy might have other ideas!

Lean dogs live longer.

Research has shown time and time again, the single one thing that will have the biggest positive impact on your dog’s health is their weight. In a recent study , lean and healthy Yorkshire Terriers lived on average 2.5 years longer, and Dachshunds live 2.3 years longer than heavier Yorkies and Daxis. That’s a long time in dog years!

But did you know almost 50% of dogs in the UK are overweight and many are obese. If you don’t have an up-to-date weight for your dog, drop into your local vet practice or pet shop. Most have a weighing scales in their reception and are more than happy for you to use it.
Each dogs daily calorie needs will be different. A young and energetic dog will burn more calories than an older and less active dog. Start by looking at the back of your dog food packet to work out their feeding amounts. Your local vet or vet nurse will be able to advise a more accurate feeding programme.
For more advice on weight loss in dogs, read Vet in the City’s blog
here .

If you would like to learn learn more about other dog foods, check out the independent review site All About Dog Food which analyses hundreds of different brands.

Warm woofs and wishes, Dr Ciara