BBC ‘dogumentary’ focuses on canine life of Heath

Walking With Dogs is due to be aired on October 15 and is set on Hampstead Heath

The BBC has turned their attention to Hampstead Heath for a new Dogumentary. Walking with Dogs focuses on the hundreds of people who walk their dogs on the Heath every day. The show’s producer Vanessa Engle admits to being touched by the amount of love showered upon what she terms “a small furry mammal on a lead.”

In the show, due to be aired on October 15, we meet dogs like Nelly the Leonberger “a posey dog” who is trained to go to hospices to be stroked by patients. Another fleeting character is a grandmother who bought a puppy when she felt “broody” after her grandchild was born.

It’s an engaging and at times poignant snapshot into the lives of dog owners. Every person filmed appears to find solace in walking their canine friends and, in one way or another, their emotional and often heart wrenching moments are shown on screen.

Our first dog lover is a woman named Marianne who loves ‘little white fluffy animals’ or ‘polar bear babies’ it’s not a surprise that her pride and joy is small white dog. Marianne lavishes attention on her dog providing a multitude of little doggy accessories which she hopes to sell, including a crystal lead and hand stitched collar. For Marianne living with a dog is simple and far less demanding “if you meet their basic requirements then they’re happy and that’s the best thing ever.”


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We go on to meet Warren who owns a French mastiff named Buddy. Warren, an ex offender, who has a conviction for GBH says people avoid him in the street because of Buddy but he doesn’t own him to seem threatening.

The programme veers between flight of fancy and serious topics. Vicky and Tony are the owners of a small cockapoo puppy named Nigel. The couple lost their son in a paragliding accident last year and bought their dog as their “rescue dog”. “We could either sit in the corner and cry or we could try and reengage with life” says Tony.

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Another couple featured are Dave and Kelly, a pair of Americans who are expecting a baby. The focus of their story is their newly acquired Alsatian puppy Katie (named in honour of Kate Middleton) and how they will manage with a puppy and a baby. When the interviewer raises concerns about how the Katie will cope with the presence of the new baby the couple’s unwavering loyalty to their puppy is nothing short of remarkable “She loves her family so much and is dedicated and loyal I can’t imagine her doing anything other than protecting it [the baby] and loving it.”

Walking With Dogs, a one-off documentary will be screened October 15 at 9pm on BBC2

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