November 26, 2010
Photo Credit: Clare
I don’t really care for dogs, but even I know a photogenic spaniel when I see one. The spaniel in question is a pedigree cocker and belongs to my best friend Clare, who sports an eerily similar corkscrew fringe. Meg’s winning looks have gained her a large fan base on Flickr, and she even managed to land a photo shoot in Heat, the celebrity news magazine, albeit unintentionally. For the poor pet was caught on camera by the paparazzi – or should that be “puparazzi”? – while staying at a luxury dog hotel.
As you can imagine, it was a natural progression in Meg’s modelling career for her to apply for the coveted spot of Ms. November in the 2011 calendar of a major insurance firm. The winner was to be chosen via an online poll.
A nail biting contest ensued, with twelve canine candidates vying for top place. A red setter claimed the lead initially, posing with a ball in its mouth. We wondered if this use of props may have given it an advantage, like those American Idol contestants who do the splits or play guitar at their audition. Then a few days later, thanks to intensive canvassing in marginal constituencies in The Midlands and further afield, Meg shot into the lead. She remained there for over a week, right up to ten minutes before the poll closed, when she was pipped at the post. Evidently the setter must have mobilised its supporters at the eleventh hour to pull off a surprise comeback. I figured that these last minute voters were the dog pageant equivalent of sniper bidders on Ebay.
So there you go. I am not seriously suggesting that the voting system was in any way flawed – “skulldoggery” was simply too good a term to pass up in my usual bonkers style of title. But I can’t help thinking that if the successful candidate had been judged not just on visual appeal but also on how they smelt, Clare’s dog would have been victorious. For Meg is a perfumista pooch on a variety of levels….
Flossie aka "Lily Petitgrain"- Photo Credit-Clare
Firstly, her daughter Flossie is named after perfumery ingredients – she is registered with the Kennel Club as “Lily Petitgrain”. Clare asked me to think up some pedigree names for all Meg’s latest litter – the offspring of a rather reluctant union with a patrician-sounding stud called Whaupley Reiver – but only Lily Petitgrain met the Club’s exacting and arcane standards. Here is a taster:
“A word cannot be repeated when naming puppies, unless an application is made to register the word as a Kennel Name. However, the repetition of a single common word may be allowed in the centre or end of the name, providing it cannot be mistaken for a registered Kennel Name.”
Some of the ideas I was most sorry to see rejected include Glanville Polge, Styrax Yurman, Concubine of Cambon, Farouche Feerie (suggested by a Basenotes member), Giblet Wink and Oddly Frocked Vixen. Okay, I realise the last couple of suggestions (from other forum friends) are a little off-message, but they had a bit of a ring to them.
And not only does Meg have a perfume-themed puppy – she’d have had a whole litter if the Kennel Club had let her – but she wears perfume on a semi-regular basis. Like many of her human counterparts, Meg has an everyday scent called “Duchess Canine Cologne” from an online store called Doggy Fashions, which the mischief-maker in me wants to call “Doggy Style”… At just £8.99 for 500ml, you can’t really expect much, and according to Clare it doesn’t smell too great, as well as bearing a worrying resemblance to a trigger spray bottle of de-icer. So of late, she has taken to spritzing Meg with her own L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Fleur d’Oranger, which strikes me as a little extravagant. Having quickly done the maths, the L’Artisan is even pricier ml for ml than Petite Amande, the canine perfume created for cat and dog outfitter’s Mungo and Maud by Lyn Harris of Miller & Harris.
So Meg may smell delightful, but the usual uplifting effects of orange blossom do not appear to be working, for her mood has taken a nosedive of late – she howls constantly and is generally acting a little strange. In an email update, Clare speculated on the causes of the dog’s poor morale:
“Can't help wondering whether disappointment has contributed to Meg's depression. She is on some hormone drops which are more expensive by volume than her perfume.”
The animal should forget this modelling lark, I hear you say, and get a proper job!
Ah, but she already has one – she works in hospitals and old people’s homes as a therapy pet, on the basis that fussing an animal can cheer people up. I guess if the model scouts don’t spot her on the wards between now and next autumn, our fragrant four legged friend could always apply to be a calendar girl next year…
– Vanessa Musson, Contributor