Imagine you time travel back to elementary school. Your teacher asks you to write an essay titled ‘My Family’. What would you write? I’m trying to imagine that for the six year old Ava and her four legged sister Blu the whippet. One thing I know for sure is that their essays would be pretty damn beautiful to read. Want to know why?
I’ve known Nicole and Matt since 2012. The couple are parents to Ava and Blu, and owners of Scout Hair in Surry Hills, Sydney. Nicole and Matt are some of the kindest and most talented people I’ve known. I always walk out of their salon feeling loved, from the latte they serve, from Blu’s cuddles while getting my hair washed, and most importantly from the hair cut that makes me feel good. I’m not getting paid for saying this, but trust me, if my hair has feeling it would tell you how much it feels loved!
After sitting on the salon chair talking about ME and my life stories for the last 3 years plus, I thought it’s time to turn the chair around (literally) and ask these people about their little family of four, which Blu the four year old whippet plays an important role.
What made you choose a whippet when you decided to bring a dog into your family?
Matt: We wanted a dog that matches our lifestyle so we can bring her to work with us. We needed a dog that is calm and relaxed around people. A dog that’s not coming up to our clients asking to play all the time.
Nicole: Matt strategically chose whippet because Ava has allergies. We wanted low vet bills, as the vet advised whippets are generally considered to be among the healthier breeds of purebred dogs. He also planned the timing of getting Blu and a whippet’s lifespan to workaround Ava’s education schedule. He didn’t want the dog to die and upset Eva when she is doing her HSC! (HSC = Australia’s Higher School Certificate, and the results determine your university admission in this country).
How did you find Blu?
Matt: We did lots of research on the internet searching for a whippet. We found a female whippet from country Victoria listed for sale. It was Blu’s sister. Blu wasn’t even up for sale but she somehow managed to photobomb her sister. It was Blu’s beautiful white marking on her face that drawn Nicole’s attention instantly, so we asked for Blu.
The breeder originally rejected our offer as he wanted to keep Blu as a show dog. (In the world of dog breeders it’s not uncommon that they keep the prettiest of the litter to show, win and breed.) The next day he called again saying we can have Blu. After measuring her he thought she’d probably grow too big to be in the show.
So there you go, another perfect example of how a dog found her owner, just like the way Noodle found me! As for Blu it was through photobombing…
“Blu wasn’t even up for sale but she somehow managed to photobomb her sister. It was Blu’s beautiful white marking on her face that drawn Nicole’s attention instantly, so we asked for Blu.”
Is Blu your first dog?
Nicole: Blu is my first dog, and I can’t believe I’ve never had a dog before. She’s like my other human child. I realise now why you show photos of your dog to people, cause they are like your child. When Matt and I decided to have a dog, I had this rule that the dog wasn’t gonna be in the house, on the lounge or anywhere!
Matt: When I brought Blu home Nicole had a hand wash at the back door, so every time after handling Blu I could wash my hands before coming back inside. Nicole didn’t grow up with a dog after all.
Did the rules work?
Matt: The first night she’s with us she slept in our room in her own bed next to ours. Guess what I found when I came home from working late one night? Nicole and Blu were sleeping together on our bed!
Nicole: Blu was in our bed within a week. I realised they are so ‘human’.
How would you describe Blu’s personality?
Matt: She has multiple personality. When she’s at work she’s very calm, when she’s around children she’s a bit more playful. But when there are dogs around, she plays very rough, pushes boundaries all the time. Don’t forget she is a hound. We’ve been very careful around fluffy dogs, just in case she thinks they are rabbits.
She’s a very good dog. I had dogs all my life but never a whippet before. Since Blu I’d never get another dog other than whippet now. One thing about them is that they are not too smart and not too dumb, making it very easy to train.
Is there anything that Blue doesn’t like?
Matt: Blu doesn’t like swimming. She fell in the water once. She was running very fast chasing a labrador. There were lily pads but she thought it was grass. she was running in the top speed and fell in the water.
Nicole: She hates the cold.
What does your dog mean to you?
Nicole: I can’t even put it into words. She’s the love of our lives. I don’t know what I’ll do without her. She’s certainly made me see a different side of myself. She means the world to us.
Matt: She’s an awesome dog for our family. She brings peace and a lot of good energy to the house. Sometimes when Ava gets a bit too excited, Blu would bring her some zen.
Nicole: We are going to Bali for holiday soon and this is the first time we’ll leave her. We are gutted! Ava has been saying every afternoon that ‘I’m going to miss her’. They are man and wo-man’s best friend.
“She’s the love of our lives. I don’t know what I’ll do without her. She’s certainly made me see a different side of myself. She means the world to us.”
If Blu can talk, what would she say to you?
Nicole: she would say ‘thank you’.
Matt: To Nicole she would say ‘can I have another chicken wing?’
Nicole: To Matt, ‘thanks for being the best dad in the world’.
Matt: We are together a lot, we don’t say a lot to each other. We just hang out. We just get each other.
Ava: ‘Thank you for kissing and loving me’.
Any final thoughts?
Nicole: I always say, in my next life I want to come back as Blu.
I’m writing this article in the middle of arctic freeze that Australia is experiencing right now. But their story warms me up like a good wooden fireplace. A warm and fuzzy feel of love still lingers around in my heart, despite the shoot for this Family Pawtrait took place several weeks ago. If anyone in this world is to write a book on ‘How to raise a family with love’, it has to be Nicole and Matt. And then Ava who will no doubt inherit these skills one day when she grows up.
“Thank you for kissing and loving me”