Mike Lee, manager of Pier Eight restaurant at The Lowry, Salford Quays, tells us about life with his nosy Spaniel, Betty.
Tell us about your dog, Betty?
Betty was a birthday present from my partner, Jack. He had always had cats growing up and wanted a dog in our life. She’s a working Cocker Spaniel/Springer Spaniel cross-breed, so as you can imagine, she’s quite a handful. She’s a happy girl and loves people, she probably prefers them to other dogs! We chose the name Betty on a whim, we actually wanted a boy dog but when we arrived at the breeder, Betty’s brother was crazy giddy and when I picked up Betty she just snuggled into my shoulder – the choice was made. Little did we know she’d turn out to be a little terror. She was the runt of the litter, so a diddy little thing. She’s obsessed with the post man – when he comes she stands up at the window with her tail wagging, if we’re out and she passes him, she runs over to try to take the post from him. It can be quite embarrassing.
Have you always been a dog lover?
Forever! I’ve always had dogs in my family life, from my nan’s German Shepard, Oscar to our Border Collie cross Pip. They’ve always been a constant and provided a sense of comfort and joy to my life. I’ve always connected with them. I love their compassion and their ability to connect with people. My auntie lived near my primary school and her dogs Rupert and Gizmo always used to escape and come into the school. Everybody else would run away – the teachers in hysteria and the dogs would just trot over to me with their tails wagging. I’ve always loved spending time with dogs, I think there’s something special about their pure enjoyment from life. Nothing beats coming home from work to the smiling, tail wagging of a dog to cheer you up!
What’s the best part of having a dog in your life?
No matter how bad my day has been coming home to her smiling excitement; it never fails to cheer me up. There’s also the additional exercise taking her for walks, the social aspect of having a dog is great too. You can’t walk past another dog owner, or dog lover for that matter, without a conversation – especially if the dogs connect and have a play around. Snuggling up on the sofa watching TV is also a bonus!
Is your dog a pampered pooch?
Not really, she has a haircut, nails done and teeth done once every six weeks, but that’s about it – although I do spend more on her haircut than on mine. She doesn’t really wear accessories, we don’t like to dress her up – she has the odd neckerchief, her Pride one goes down particularly well.
Does your dog have any dog friends?
We only have one dog, but Betty has a great friendship with our friend’s dog, Rita – a white Cockerpoo. They’re only a couple of weeks apart in age and Betty gets very excited if we say that Rita is coming over to play. Betty’s a really playful dog and Rita prefers to sleep, it’s funny Betty reminds me of myself as a child – I always wanted to stay up with the adults whilst my siblings slept and that kind of describes Betty and Rita’s friendship too.
They say dogs reflect their owners. Do you think your dog is like you or your partner in any way? She’s more cheerful than me but I can give her a run for her money in terms of loudness. She very much has her own personality, she’s a busy lady and doesn’t rest easy. If she’s not ripping up post, chasing birds around the park or digging up the garden, she’s checking out what’s happening outside the window. She’s a bit of a nosy neighbour really.
Do you think you have become like your dog in any way?
I wouldn’t say I have; Betty has some traits of an old lady in a terraced street matched with a giddy child. I’m not sure I could be described in any of those terms.
If you could swap places with your dog for a day, what’s one thing you’d love to do?
I would love to understand what she’s thinking; when she trots off in the park, where does she think she’s going and what does she think she’ll find. I’d also quite like to roll in fox poo – just to see what the fascination is – it really is one of her favourite hobbies.