Poppy has a dirty underwear fetish. Spyro is “more of a socks man”. Kevin is fond of his Batman pyjamas and Megatron hates to be bathed but loves to be blow-dried. We even have a bilingual Cavalier King Charles.
It’s fair to say that we at Media Suite love our pets. It’s not uncommon for someone’s dog to be sitting patiently (or not so patiently) in a breakout room before a trip to the vet, or for a cat to be joining a video call – usually without an invitation. There’s been suggestions that Media Suite could branch into doggie daycare in the empty lot behind our building, or that the office just wouldn’t be complete without a teacup piglet. (Apparently you can’t buy them in New Zealand – we checked.)
When I suggested promoting our team’s pets in the company Hall of Fame (the blog), I feel confident saying it was the best response to a company-wide email I have seen. Most of the contributions came with half a dozen photos – some more, with the phrase, “I couldn’t pick, so here are heaps, you choose”. One had a Zip file with multiple folders, categorised – “to show all the sides of his personality”.
It’s no secret that pet ownership makes us happier. From reduced risk of asthma, heart attack and depression, to lowering our stress levels, pets are basically living medicine for a whole hosts of ailments. Whether it’s walking the dog, patting the cat, or just having to care for a fluffy little dependant, pets bring a lot of positives.
At Media Suite, they serve the additional purpose of uniting us in a common interest. Most new hires would probably report being grilled on their pet ownership status at their first lunch break, or being asked to share photos of their puppy/kitten as if it were a newborn human.
Most of our team have pets – pampered pets. At least three dogs go to doggie daycare. One has a webcam set up at home so his owner can monitor him from the office. There are custom-built kennels (not currently in-use, of course), special dietary requirements, high-end grooming services, professional dog walkers, and one man who has stockpiled cat food in case there’s an emergency and “they only helicopter in human food”.
Below, for your viewing (and cooing) pleasure, is a short(ish) record of our furry friends. If for no other reason than to get them a little internet air time. You just never know where the next Grumpy Cat will be born.
Naturally, this Show and Tell will begin with Mati, the beloved office pooch. (From there, the pets have been ranked alphabetical order, to avoid any accusations of favouritism.)
Owner: George and Abi
Nickname(s): Mati, Mati-dog, Old Lady
Loves: She’s always struggled to keep her tongue to herself – the more she loves you the more she licks. Over 1.5 decades she’s realised most people don’t love being licked so has become super stealthy about approaching exposed flesh (like bare feet or ankles under desks) and just getting a really quick sneak-lick in. Mati is also committed to a good routine, so if something happens once (like coming to the office, or sharing a muesli bar at 10am, or sitting in a particular seat in the car), she’s lined up for a repeat tomorrow, the day after and the day after that.
This one time: We kept our wedding super-simple. Without a bridal party, Mati was the ring bearer and bridesmaid. Most of our friends new about Mati’s big role and witnessed her displeasure at being picked up from the groomers the day before, all primped and preened – practising the tying of the rings around her neck with a silk scarf. So as the guests arrived at the wedding and saw a muddy, wet, border collie leaping for joy in a stagnant pond at the bottom of the garden (without any sign of a scarf) there was quite a degree of concern and a couple of rescue plans quickly devised. Mati, cognisant of the importance of the occasion and her role in the event, was in fact lounging on the bride’s feet and eyeing the champagne and catering vehicles. The groom’s uncle’s border collie was the fiend in the pond…and there she stayed throughout the ceremony (thank goodness, eau de stagnant pond being somewhat unromantic). Mati performed her duties with aplomb. The best bride-dog a girl could ask for.
Nickname(s): Alf, Alfredo, LV (thanks to one family member’s pronunciation challenges)
Loves: Loves playing with the vacuum cleaner (by sitting in front of it) while you’re busy hoovering. Also has to sit between me and Estella (or across our laps) on the couch all the time.
This one time: I came home to Alfie sleeping belly-up on my pillow. If his playpen door is ever left unlocked, he can be found on our bed.
Fun Fact: Alfie is bilingual, in Mandarin and English.
Charley, Tippy, Maxy, Marmy and Honey
Nickname(s): Chimper, Chimpy, Sweet-pea. Tipper, Tibs, Fatso.
This one time: I started with one cat, Charley (she is a Russian Blue cross). She has been with me for over 17 years and has travelled from Perth to Brisbane to Queenstown with me. She is me in cat form: Quite irritable and LOVES cheese.
Nickname(s): Kev, Kevin-J, KJ, Puppoo, Puppy, Pup, K-diz, Kevo, Big K
Loves: Cuddling under his blankie, which he must sleep under every night whether it’s 3 degrees or 30. The beach is his happy place, because it combines his stick fetish with his water fetish and bird-chasing ambitions. He also attends doggie daycare where his favourite activity is bubble-chasing.
This one time: Kevin became a master of deception. Due to his preference for lying on the couch, ideally on a recently vacated seat which is still warm from the previous bottom, Kevin devised a cunning plan. If he goes to his dog mat and frantically scrapes his blankets ‘trying to arrange them’, someone will eventually get up to help. At which point he is free to run around behind the couch and nip into their warm spot. Foolproof.
Max and Poppy
Ages: 3 (Max), 9 (Poppy)
Loves: Trail walks in Bottle Lake Forest, his favourite food is pizza, and although he’s not a fan of big dogs he does love his small dog friends at daycare who he can
play with boss around.
This one time: He is not a fan of the bath but he loves to be burrito’d in a towel and blow dried after his bath. Stories have been told of him hopping out of bed in the morning at the sound of the blow drier, and striking a pose against the side of the bathtub in order to be blow-warmed. Starting his morning the right way 😉
Fun fact: Megatron is a Canadian pupper that immigrated to NZ with me in 2012. Megatron has a love/hate relationship with his stuffed rabbit (one of the few toys he’s taken an interest in). A quirk of Megatron’s is to demand scratches by either head-butting you or pulling your hand towards him with his paw.
Milo and Otis
Nicknames: Venga Chicos – or, “come on guys”. Usually in response to dirty paw prints on the kitchen bench.
Loves: Their new home. Milo and Otis are rescues and have just joined the Wilkinson house a month ago.
Nicknames: Swamp Monkey, Cub
Loves: a cuppa tea, will sit and stare at the kettle while it boils waiting for his ‘cup’, and has been known to whine if tea is made and he doesn’t get one. He’s decided that the cat flap in the front door is his window, and voice to the outside world, routinely making poor unsuspecting visitors jump by sticking his head out (which I must admit has made me laugh a few times, and saved on takeaway delivery tips by scaring off the delivery guy). He will take shiny things back to his bed like a little dragon. Visitors have been known to wonder where their keys, sunglasses or even tools were, only for me to find him hoarding them.
This one time: When he was a pup we spent many weekends building a huge insulated kennel… he’s refused to go in it which means that as I’m a softie he now has the conservatory instead, so it’s one elaborate dog play room and I don’t have a conservatory anymore!
Fun fact: He has his favourite cafes which he loves to visit, and if I try and walk past one he’s frequented, then he sits and won’t budge until we’ve stopped for a coffee (and a dog treat)…He also has a growing wardrobe (rain coat, booties to save his feet from hot tarmac in summer, life vest for when he comes out in the kayak).
Sasha (tortoiseshell) and Nala (grey)
Nicknames: Stinky Bum and Tiny Cat. Finn, 2, used to call them both Nala, but now he just says both their names every time he sees one of them, just in case. This way he can be right 100% of the time.
Loves: Nala loves cuddles (but is a little bitey). Sasha is more adventurous and tends to run around until she passes out, preferably on top of someone. Sasha likes to sleep under my chin like an over-sized novelty moustache.
This one time: They both like being under the blankets and stealing all of Maike’s (my wife’s) huge European pillow for themselves. Maike was sleeping halfway down the bed when we woke up this morning because the cats had muscled her out.
Nicknames:No, Down, Give Me Back My Sock, Come Here, Get Out Of The Kitchen… juuust kidding. I mostly call him Buddy cos he’s my best buddy.
Loves: His habits/personality traits/fetishes mostly revolve around eating or destroying things. He is the most Labradory Labrador that ever was. His primary addiction is socks though. He think’s he’s really subtle stealing them but he’s got a really distinct sounding trot when he’s grabbed one from the washing basket. I can usually tell from another room what he’s up to just by the sound of his pitter patter on the floor and the smug look on his face when I finally catch him.
This one time:While he’s becoming more sensible as he ages he did not cope well with boredom when he was younger. I pop home to see him at lunch time during the week and there was a period of time where I’d discover newly destroyed items most days. He went through phases but his victims include our spa pool cover, my reading glasses, our lawn, garden sprinkler, clothes rack (flattened by the BBQ he pulled over on top of it), the vege garden fence, day-old jandals (not the worn, 6 year old pair), dog beds, paint brushes etc. I like to think he’s made us tidier people as we don’t leave stuff lying around as much as we used to.
Tara and Lola
Nicknames: one of the “kids”, or Mumbles
Loves: Tara likes to find fresh peccary (small jungle pig) poop and dive in face-first, followed by a shower. Hopefully the shower comes before she jumps onto the bed.
Fun fact: She tends to whisper-bark whenever she wants to play, but rarely actually barks. We got Lola (a mixed-breed Tico dog) because she barks at anything that moves on the ground.
Wombat (the guinea pig)
Owner: Andrew and Sarah
Loves: Eating tissues, beat juggling, eating treats straight out of the jar.
This one time: We got Wombat a new cage buddy called Archie. We thought it’d be nice for him to have a friend, but Archie turned out to be a bit feral and bit Wombat on his bottom. For a while poor Wombat had a shaved bum where the vet fixed him up.
Fun Fact: We think Wombat knows all the states of America. If you say a place that isn’t a state, he just stares at us. If we say a state, he slightly raises his eyebrows. So that’s pretty irrefutable proof.