Jo Good: My dog has unlocked a maternal streak I never knew I had
JO GOOD AND HER PET BRITISH BULLDOG MATILDACREDIT: MATT WRITTLE
We think we share a deep connection with our pets – but do our attempts to read their minds actually say more about ourselves? Weekend invites proud owners to take our version of the famous Proust personality questionnaire on behalf of their beloved animals.
This week: Actress and presenter Jo Good tells us about his seven year old British bulldog, Matilda...
Why the name Matilda?
I once met a bulldog of the same name that was riding around Union Square in New York on a skateboard. I thought it was just such a cool image.
Where did you meet?
Herefordshire. But my red tights caused such a stir on Hereford High Street that I rapidly got her back home to London.
What was your first impression?
I thought she was just too cute for her own good. As an actress, I’ve always tried to get people’s attention, but she doesn’t have to do anything to get strangers cooing over her.
First outing together?
A walk in Regent’s Park with Julian Clary, who is one of my closest friends. It’s only eight minutes away from home, but by the end she was foaming at the mouth and I had to take her to the vet. It turned out I had completely over-walked her.
Was dog ownership how you imagined?
No. I’ve not had children and I come from a family where we keep to ourselves, so I’ve never been responsible for anything in my life – or wanted to be for that matter. Suddenly I was in charge of a puppy who was basically like a baby. I couldn’t leave her for a second. It was all a huge shock.
How does she fit in to your life?
Matilda is quite happy to do nothing, which is a relief given we live in a studio flat in the middle of Marylebone. Her happiest times are when we’re driving around in my Mini. She sits on the front passenger seat, wearing a dog seat belt, and when I open the window her jowls blow back in the wind.
Are you at all similar?
We both appreciate our own company. Sometimes when I get home, I think she’s quite cross that I’m back. She doesn’t bound towards me like other dogs, but raises one eyebrow, then goes back to sleep. I’m like this too, though. People think I’m gregarious, but it’s all for show.
She has unlocked a maternal streak I never knew I had. Before we met I’d never nurtured so much as a punnet of cress.
We both need Botox. We have wrinkles, and our jowls are the most prominent part of our face. I keep saying, “God, Matilda, we’re morphing into each other.”
Her idea of misery?
Walking in the rain. She won’t have gone 20 yards before she’ll lie down like a frog in the road and I’ll have to stagger home, carrying her.
Any shared activities?
Yoga. It’s my main form of exercise and Matilda is just brilliant at “doga”. She has perfected downward dog and upward dog to such an extent that she is used in demonstrations.
How would she fare in the wild?
She wouldn’t. She’d die in 30 seconds. She has no survival instincts and is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Does she ever embarrass you?
She snores like a trucker. If I take her to hotels, her snoring can be heard through the walls. The chambermaids think I’ve got a man in there with me.
How do you embarrass her?
When I pretend I like someone and she knows I don’t. She is very true unto herself and cringes if I’m not.
Her most treasured possession
A dog toy called a Joy Stick, which looks like a massive sex toy, but is, in fact, a safe stick that won’t splinter. I accidentally threw it over the fence from my mother’s garden the other day and the neighbours brought it back looking very embarrassed.
How does she get your attention?
She doesn’t need to; we have an umbilical connection. We observe each other all the time.
When Jilly Cooper, my favourite author, complimented her on how good she is about going in lifts.
Is she expensive to run?
Extremely. She can’t be insured any more as I’ve claimed so much. Her first operation on her soft palate cost £3,000. I also indulge her with deep-sea mudwraps, massages and expensive supplements, and I take her everywhere with me, even to Paris.
Any regrets about her?
None. She has unlocked a maternal streak I never knew I had. Before we met I’d never nurtured so much as a punnet of cress.
What does she mean to you?
She is my family. Someone I have to be concerned about apart from myself; she stops me from being totally hedonistic.