‘Just the two of us, we can make it if we try…. Just the two of us, building castles in the sky.‘
Will Smith’s 1997 hit Just the Two of Us was playing in my head when I was shooting this Family Pawtrait for Hugo and his human dad Peter. I’m sure the doctor didn’t place Hugo in Peter’s arms soon after he was born, but I can imagine it was the breeder who had the honour instead.
No I’m not suggesting Peter is the male version of crazy dog lady. But the photos remind me of what Will and his son Trey had as depicted in Will’s song. Peter, a young ambitious entrepreneur, with the support from his paw-tner in crime Hugo, a nine year old West Highland White Terrier, can definitely build the tallest castles in the sky.
What do you do for a living, Peter?
I wear a few hats. In my day job I run my own company digital marketing agency called Creatiq. We specialise in web design and development, ecommerce, and online advertising, and love working with other entrepreneurs. I am also, with a group of cool people, establishing my new startup Kaliido – a social lifestyle network connecting guys based on lifestyle interests, such as sports and other leisurely activites – as opposed to it just pushing more of the hook-up culture, which most apps seem to be doing these days. I’m also involved in my community work, volunteering for the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Business Association (SGLBA), now as it’s Vice President. My main objective this term is working to setup the first LGBT business centre in the city, which I am stoked to be doing!
And in between all of that is being daddy to Hugo.
How did you find Hugo in the first place?
I moved from LA to Sydney in 2004, and I was pretty homesick for a while, and really wanted a dog. I saw a West Highland White Terrier on ‘My Dog’ (a dog food brand) tv commercial, I suddenly realised ‘Oh $#!% that is MY DOG’! I instantly went on to researching where I could find one, and did.
As the most reputable breeder was in Melbourne, my partner and I actually didn’t even see Hugo and his brother in person. Somehow after spending hours on the phone with the breeder, I just went with my gut instinct that the breeder was genuine; after seeing photos and asking lots more questions, we had them shipped over on a Qantas flight! I still remember picking them up out of their crate at the airport – Hugo was the curious one poking his head out as far as it could go. They looked like rats – but adorable rats!
So there were two?
Yes, there were two. He has a brother from the same litter named Bailey. He was so sweet! A big pleaser! But, when my ex partner and I were splitting up back in 2009, I could only take one dog with me. He was unable to keep any. So I kept Hugo with me, and a friend of mine now has Bailey.
What made you decide to keep Hugo and not Bailey?
As I could only keep one dog, I had to make sure that I would keep the naughty one and give away the good one. I thought if I gave away the naughty one then there’s a good chance he might be returned to me. Hugo was the naughty one, by far. As soon as we transitioned into our new life, Hugo took a 180° change and became a completely different dog – a good one! I guess it just came down to competition (sibling rivalry, I suppose!).
How would you describe Hugo’s personality?
Hugo is very curious and super inquisitive. He loves food (more than other dogs) and thrives on adventure. He started out as a typical naughty dog, chewing through multiple pairs of shoes, destroying things and barking. He was pretty destructive. And then he just changed. Now he is super cute. He’s extremely friendly and he likes everybody. He would make the worst guard dog if anybody broke into my place.
His first loyalty is food, second would be me. He’s much more affectionate to people as opposed to other dogs. He can just walk by other dogs in the park and have no regard for them at all.
What are the things in life that he likes?
Aside from food, I call him the adventure dog. He is the ‘go anywhere dog’. He’s always up for adventures, whether it’s going to the mountain or to the beach. He loves to swim at the beach, which I thought was interesting. He just really loves to get out – which is good for me because he forces me to get away from work.
Anything he doesn’t like?
He doesn’t like certain smells like coffee, wines or alcohol. Very unlike his daddy.
As a parent, what’s the biggest concern you have for Hugo?
It’s sad that he’s ageing quickly, time flies so fast. He’s 9 years old. He’s perfectly healthy, but you can tell that he’s slowing down.
What’s life like to be with Hugo?
I have to work quite a lot. Being in business for yourself throws you a lot of challenges. It’s just nice that he’s always there. There’s nothing like having a dog to come home to, that’s always happy to see you, that’s always in a good mood, you know, I can’t think of one time that any dog let alone Hugo would be angry at you when you come home late. Hugo is always happy and always looking forward to what’s next!
What are the happiest moments you share with Hugo?
I think the happiest moments are the simple ones, staying home with him on my lap if I’m reading or catching up on a show; or sleeping in on the weekends with him just right next to the bed. He sleeps the entire night!
What does your dog mean to you?
Hugo means unconditional love, and joy. He’s the next best thing to a son!
If Hugo can speak, what would he say to you?
“Every snack you make, every bite you take, I’ll be watching you…” (He gets really pissed off if I don’t make him a Saturday morning fried egg.)
And what would you say to Hugo?
I would say – thank you for being here (but it’s not like you have a choice!)
‘Daddy loves you, daddy loves you…’ As Will Smith was rapping away towards the end, Peter and Hugo walked into their favourite park enjoying each other’s company.