TV presenter and dog enthusiast Peter Purves tells us all about the pets who have cemented their place in his home and his heart...
Q: Who shares your sofa?
Peter: We have six dogs; four standard wire-haired dachshunds, and two Pekingese.
My wife, Kathryn, and I share the quite large sofa in our breakfast room, and basically we wear whichever dogs are lucky enough to get there first. We call Teddy a Parrot, because he likes to be up high and resting on our shoulders. Woody always snuggles up onto one or other of our laps. The pekes fill the gaps that are left!!!
Q: Describe your pets in three words
Peter: Adorable; Funny; characterful.
Q: How did they come to join your family?
Peter: My wife has always kept pekes - her mother used to breed them. We looked after a dachshund for a very good friend, and liked her so much that we took one of her bitch puppies from her first and only litter. That was Hattie. We then bought a gorgeous male puppy (Woody). And 15 months later we had a litter of seven fabulous puppies. Three went to really nice owners in Dorset, Devon and King’s Lynn. Two stayed local, and we kept the terrible twins, Dottie and Teddy.
Q: Why do you love your pets?
Peter: What is not to like? The dachshunds are lovely to live with, fairly calm for the most part, though they do break into a group howl when they hear the door or a bird-scarer, or an occasional low-flying aircraft, or anything really. And the pekes are just the nicest and cuddliest little people with amazing character . And they are very beautiful. They give us such a lot of pleasure, just by being there. I could not imagine the house without them.
Q: What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve bought for them?
Peter: Their food!!!
Q: What’s the best thing about having pets?
Peter: The companionship they give. Whenever I sit on the sofa, within seconds a dog is on my lap. They are very comforting.
Q: What are their worst habits?
Peter: Don’t let’s go there. It is easy to make a garden dog proof - BUT NOT DACHSHUND PROOF! They dig (actually only two of them dig, but Australia here they come!).
Q: Where’s your favourite place to go with your dogs?
Peter: We used to go to Sizewell Beach, now we just keep them local. They cannot be let off the lead, because if they see something their hound instinct kicks in, selective deafness begins, and we could spend hours looking for them. I am sure they would come back eventually, but they have nil road sense, and cars travel far too quickly, even on the country lanes of Suffolk.
Q: What’s the best pet advice you’ve been given, and by whom?
Peter: I pick up a lot of tips from dog trainers and handlers when i go to big shows. Roy Dyer of the Essex dog Display team gives great advice. “They are dogs, not people. If they don’t come when you call them, what they are doing is more interesting to them than what you are offering. They aren’t being naughty. And don’t shout at your dog. They have the best hearing of all domesticated animals - they heard you the first time.” Good advice, but not always easy to follow.
Over to Bea, Woody, Teddy, Dottie, Hattie and Lillie…
Q: What’s the best thing about being Peter’s pet?
Dogs: Warmth, comfort, good food, they never leave us alone for long, and they never tell us off.
Q: Go on, let us into a secret about your owner!
Dogs: We have had a discussion and decided WE AREN’T GOING TO TELL YOU. Secretly he is putty in our paws!