Welcome to our series of interviews by Hettie's very own pups - Bruce and Mabel. They have sharpened their pencils and come up with some questions for their fellow pampered pooches which they hope you will enjoy
Their handsome guest this week is Willie Nelson from New York City and we are delighted to have been able to chat to him and his lovely Mum Karen. Willie and Karen live near Central Park and Karen works for ELLE DECOR Magazine as Executive Director of Home Furnishings & Special Projects.
Bruce and Mabel caught up with Willie and got to know a bit more about him and his views on owning a human.
Tell us about your human:
I call my human “mamma”—she grew up in Dallas, Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and later received her MFA in Interior Design from Parson School of Design in NYC. She moved to NYC with her college cat “BooBoo Kitty”. Mamma grew up with lots of pets. My late grandma use to say we had a “SUCKER” sign above our front door. We were always bringing canines and felines home—or they mysteriously showed up. All of mamma’s pet we’re named from a favorite movie or TV characters. I’m the first musician and she was very keen on keeping to her Texas roots. Also—I think I’m much more handsome that the other Willie Nelson, but we both are scruffy and believe in breaking rules if it’s for the greater good. Mama is good with that, but my mama won’t let her baby (ME) grow up to be a cowboy.
And how well do you have her trained ?
Excellent! I had her hire a wonderful trainer here in NYC. He name is Lydia DesRoche. She changed our lives. I’m a terrier and I really felt like I could make my rules. I’m a really cute boy and mama couldn’t say no to me when I was a lil pupper. But I realized young that I needed to get some discipline if I was going to rule the Upper East Side of New York City—and be KING of Central Park. Lydia taught mama “positive reinforcement training” which means…
Do…Immediately praise and reward desired behavior. I’m a dog so I live in the moment, so she needed to learn that her response to me must be immediate...Keep it short and fun. The goal was to get me to realize that good things come when I’m a good boy! Don't…Make things complicated, show inconsistency. ...stop correcting me lady!
You can follow Lydia on Instagram @lydia.d
She’s got a fun job!
Does she work to your routine ok - for example getting up in time to let you do your business ?
I have to manage her—but it’s good. I’ve got NO problem jumping on her for emergency potty in the middle of the night (that is rare because I potty before bed and immediately when I wake up).
Do you have enough room to sleep on her bed comfortably?
Let me be clear, the largest bed in our home is MINE. I allow her and her boyfriend to use it. I have 3 additional beds. One I use to hide bones, and stash toys that I don’t want to be put away in my toy bins. The second is very, very fancy, custom made for me by Cowtan & Tout (a brand in the U.K in the Colefax & Fowler portfolio). I only use it for special occasions. It looks great in my home—and I look great on it. Good for photos of me, and definitely sit in it when we have guests over. The last bed is hidden in my bedroom. It was a cheap bed that mama picked up at a local store after I chewed apart two other beds (this is before Lydia came into our lives). I sleep in that the most. I like to nap in there while mama is at work. I keep all of my blankies and favorite stuffed animals in there. I use it occasionally at night when mama takes over my bed and I just need my own space. I also have my crate—it was my bed for the first year of my life. I use that when I want some peace and quiet. Mama didn’t think she had the will power to crate train me, but we both agree is was the best thing ever. I love my crate!!!! I also hide things in there as well. In my early years, we called it jail. But back then I didn’t let mama know how much I loved going to jail. Just my place that nobody else can fit into.
Who gets to the front door first when the bell rings ?
ME! We live in NYC—so the bell rings a lot! Mama opens the door and I wait at the elevator to properly greet guests. I must admit, I’m extra nice to the food delivery people.
Does she take note of the Stink Eye?
I’m a Norwich Terrier--- we invented the “Stink Eye” and the “Side Eye” . Yes, she notices. She often takes notice and feels bad or notices and throws shade back at me. Mama’s mastered her own “Stink Eye” and “Side Eye”. She either got it at work, from me--- or a combination of both. Neither of us roll our eyes. I simply cannot and her mama has ZERO tolerance for an eye roll, so it’s one less eye situation we have to deal with.
Does she pay you enough in treats?
With the positive reinforcement system, I get rewarded with treats and/or belly rubs. It’s a great system! But really, is anyone really paid enough????
How often does she annoy you and does she have any bad habits you haven’t broken yet?
I’m only annoyed when she is on that dang iPhone. I’m extremely offended by technology (except TV). As far as I’m concerned, she doesn’t need a cell phone, iPad or MacBook! I’m very verbal when she’s trying to talk on her cell phone. However, I have learned to LOVE FaceTime! Because it involves ME! So she does do FaceTime much more now so I don’t feel like I’m being left out. I have feelings too--- and everyone she’s yapping with I know, so why can’t I join in on the talk? And really, who doesn’t want to see me come through on their iPhone or iPad? Can’t say I’ve fully broken the habit-but that’s only because not everyone wants to do FaceTime. My papa (mama’s dad) LOVES to FaceTime with me and my God Mom Auntie d’Na goes crazy for me on FaceTime—so it’s not a fully broken habit, but we’ve made it work. Overall, I’m ALWAYS HAPPY! Humans should eat what I eat.
How long does she let you play with an annoying squeaky toy?
When I was a little pupper I played with squeaky toys—but I was never into really making noise with them. Now I don’t even care if there’s a squeaker or not. Squeak does nothing for me. I know—weird? But I do love toys, balls, more toys and other dogs.
Do you go to work with her and have you been given your place on one of her magazine covers?
Sadly, no. I cannot go to work with mama. She works for Hearst Corporation, in a building designed by Sir Norman Foster. It’s FANCY! Apparently, they have a crazy, popular cafeteria on the 3rd floor and an additional 5 star restaurant on the top floor. Because of the NYC Health Codes, no pets allowed because of restaurants. WHATEVER! They do give me pet benefits. And yes, I have appeared in the pages of ELLE DECOR a few times. Never a cover story—but we did take a great cover photo and photo shopped out the Golden Retriever and put me in there instead and we used it as our holiday card.
photographer Douglas Friedman
interior design Ken Fulk
Where do you stay if she goes away and does the terrible thing humans sometimes do and leaves you behind?
I’M NEVER LEFT BEHIND. I like to travel with mama if I can (which is as much as possible). I’m a great traveler. OR I go on my own doggy vacation at Far Fetched Acers. Its located in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York State. Lydia got me hooked up there, and I’m a regular. It’s nice because I get to run and play outside and inside. They give us belly rubs, take us on long walks (if we’re not too tired from all of the play time). All of my city furiends go there too—so it’s like sleep away camp. And mama can see pictures every day on their SnapFish account. She can also see that I’m having tons of fun on their Instagram page and in their IG stories. @farfetchedacres https://www.farfetchedacres.com/ You can find mama and me with our quote if you scroll to “reviews from paw-rents”. We love them!!
Has she ever taken you to meet someone famous who was nice?
YES! One time I thought I was going for a play date with one of my girlfriends Grace. She’s Lydia, my trainers sweet Jack Russell. Grace was on Broadway and Lydia called us to see if we could do a play date at the theatre in-between her matinee and her evenimg performance. The play was called “It’s Only A Play”. Mama got me all cleaned up—and I put on my bow tie because I wanted to look nice for Grace. Even got her a present to wish her luck. When we got to the theatre, Grace and Lydia were nowhere to be found, but the stage manager and director knew we were coming. “HUMMMM”, I thought to myself—“where’s GRACE!” They shuffled us through the back stage to the main stage, still no Grace. I really wanted to play with her. But these other people had another agenda. The director and some actors were waiting on stage—the lights were up in the audience of the theater as they were cleaning it after the matinee. By now, mama was confused! Me however, I played it cool because once I walked onto that stage--- the director asked mama if I could remove my leash and let me run around the stage. YAASSS!!! I’ve been discovered! Next thing I knew they were asking me to do things like jump here, come here, do this, do that—and I complied. What was really happening was I was auditioning for the part of “Torch” in “It’s Only A Play”. Torch was the dog to Megan Mullally’s character in the show. But Megan had stepped out for a break—so I didn’t meet her. However, I did get to meet the lovely Stockard Channing (she has 2 miniature pinscher that she told me all about). She LOVES animals and I loved her. I also met at the same time Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick— both were very nice as well. But did I get the part?? Well, the truth was; the show had just begun previews (meaning the show hadn’t officially opened and they had an audience—but they are still working things out before the official opening). Grace apparently had gotten some stage fright when the audience gave applause. Lydia, knowing how much attention I like and need suggested they look at ME! Well, just as my audition was coming to an end, my girlfriend showed up. We played like we thought was the original plan, and they explained to mama the situation. WELL GUESS WHAT—wouldn’t you know it, Grace must have figured it out that her role was in jeopardy. That night—just a few hours after I left the theatre, Grace nailed all of her q’s. She wasn’t going to give up her moment on the GREAT WHITE WAY. But I was her understudy which wasn’t a bad deal at all. But yes, I met a few famous people and they were lovely. Lots of my morning Central Park Furiends have pawrents that are famous. Don’t think it’s appropriate to name names—but all of our furiends that are up early in Central Park are all nice! Pawrents and their dogs!
What is the most rewarding thing about owning a human?
Being loved and giving love. All unconditionally.
Do you have any other friends who might like to chat with us and spill the beans on their human?
YES, YES, YES! My lady friend @gracethevizsla And two of my Norwich buddies @winslowinthecity and @hiworldmynameisgeorge Then there’s my secret crush—I think she’s too tall to see me in Central Park, but I admire her from a distance @stellainthecity She’s a gorgeous Great Dane.
Any advice for pups having problems with their human?
Look into “Positive Reinforcement Training” and if you live in NYC—contact Lydia.
Quintessentially British luxury accessories- for adventures together from rural to city