Emma & Dora

Best Friends Emma & Dora

♡ What breed is Dora?

Dora is a Township special, so I have no idea what she's made from. Possibly some Rottweiler, but rather diluted with all the other things. I love mixed breed dogs so it doesn't matter to me what she'd made from because that's what makes her unique.

♡ Can you share a short story on how you met?

I met Dora the very first time I went to CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare). It was love at first sight. Dora was 6 months old and had been brought into CLAW after she got hit by a car. She had a broken femur and was very skinny. Dora has the most beautiful big, brown eyes and as soon as I saw her I knew she was my dog. We had quite a rehab journey with her leg which is now good as new apart from a slight limp.

♡ In your opinion, what makes rescue dogs so special?

Rescue dogs are special because they are each unique and I think they know that they have been saved so they spend everyday making your act of kindness up to you. I have a particular soft spot for mixed breed rescues because they are the ones that tend to be overlooked at shelters for being too plain and not fitting a specific breed standard. When in fact they often have the best characters and are extra special because no two look the same.

♡ Dora isn’t your only pooch… What is life like with your rescues?

Life in the O'Brien household is chaos. We have six dogs, so everywhere you turn there is a furry creature, plus Richard the rescue African Grey Parrot. I love having a busy house with lovely happy dogs all around. There's always something going on and lots of waggy tails and smiley faces to squeeze. Our dogs range in size from a 3kg puppy to a 35kg Ridgeback X, so the humans have to get on the couches quickly in the evenings!!!

♡ As an award winning dog portrait photographer, you get to spend a lot of time with other people's fur babies. Do your pooches get jealous when you come home smelling like other dogs?

I think my dogs are very curious about where I've been and who I've met when I get home. I have to stand still to be sniffed until they lose interest. My studio is a very popular spot for the dogs to sniff as I often have lots of other dogs visit for shoots. I have to shut the door to keep mine out, Jeremy (my daxie from Sandton SPCA) has a tendency to pee in there!!!

♡ Can you share any fun stories with your group as a whole?

My dogs are lunatics. Dora likes to sleep on our bed whenever she gets a chance (they are not allowed in the bedroom). On the odd occasion that Alfred is away and I sneak Dora into bed, she insists on getting under the covers to sleep right next to me. Dora weighs 35kgs, so as much as I love her cuddles, she is not a good sleeping companion. Hazel likes to sleep on top of the dog food bag in the kitchen and guard it. Jeremy, my Dachshund from Sandton SPCA is now very old and has gone blind and deaf. This doesn't stop him from finding his way to the couch where he insists on sitting on my lap. Little Ed, our newest addition from CLAW, is still finding his feet in the household. The others are not quite sure about him yet. His teeth have just sprouted (I got him at 3 days old) so he wants to chew everything, including Jeremy.

♡ Do you get to go on any adventures together?

The only downside of so many dogs is that public outings are impossible without running the risk of being blacklisted from every park in Gauteng! My dogs are not renowned for their obedience, so they get walked in pairs.

♡ What made you wish to match with your best friend?

Aside from the fact that I think the FriendshipCollars look fabulous, it's nice to be able to wear my bracelet and feel like I still have a connection with my dogs even though I'm not with them. Every time I look at my bracelet, I think of Dora.

I love my dogs because… They add so much to my life and they make me very happy.