From Rags to Scarves - A Homeless Dog's Fairy Tale in London

 |  Apr 27th 2011  |   10 Contributions


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Honey, once homeless, on one of the doggy beds her loving owner helps sell around the world (Photo: Laura Altair Hanson)

At Dogster, we know a good fairy tale when we see one. On my recent visit to London, I visited with Valery Demure, a renowned showroom director for some of the world's top accessory designers. The reason for my visit: Dogster's top-notch content manager, Janine Kahn, is a huge fan of one of Valery's clients, Swash. Janine is big on sight hounds, and sight hounds - one in particular - are central to many Swash designs. I wanted to surprise her with a little feature from Swash World HQ, and maybe shake paws with a whippet named Candy, Swash's main canine model.

On the day I visited Swash and Valery's headquarters, located on separate floors of a large building in a funky East London neighborhood, Swash owners Sarah Swash and Toshio Yamanaka were scrambling to get ready for what amounts to a major visit from the tax man. They would have no time to get together for this spur-of-the-moment meeting. So I was happy to sit down with Valery to get an idea of the high-end Swash scarves that are all the rage with dog-and-fashion lovers around the globe.

But then I laid eyes on a dear little gold-colored dog gazing adoringly at Valery. And I heard her story. So I bring you Honey's tale instead of a fashion story. It's much more Dogster, anyway.

A Short Fairy Tail

Once upon a time there was a dog with no name. She was found tied up to a post in front of a London flower shop. She was there for many hours. No one claimed her. She was scrawny, weighing half what she should. At the end of the day, she went home with Valery, who loved her as soon as she laid eyes on her. Valery had been wanting a sight hound of some sort, and this dog looked vaguely whippet. It didn't matter, whippet or not, she would not let the dog spend the night tied to a post, and did not want to give her up to a humane society. She put up signs, and was thankful when no one claimed her.

Honey was 2 years old then. Fast forward four years. The dog is resplendent, lying in Valery's studio, reposing on her comfortable Swash designed dog bed and listening to Valery go on about how much Honey has meant to her. The air is sweet with the smell of fresh-brewed tea and honey. Valery's easygoing baby, Paloma, gurgles with her sitter on a comfy chair.

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Valery and Honey, in their East London office/loft (Photo: Laura Altair Hanson)

It turns out Honey, who has filled out beautifully, is probably half collie, half whippet. She sports a thick, shiny coat and a mellow temperament. (Except when Valery leaves; so Valery takes Honey as many places as possible. She's a happy pup.) While Candy, the Swash team's purebred whippet, may be Queen of the Swash kingdom, Honey is just an every mutt who hit the jackpot and is living the life she had once only dreamed of.

Honey may not be royalty, but by virtue of being at various fashion shoots in London and Paris (Valery's native land) with Valery, she has taken part in several shoots and appeared in a number of fashion magazines. And she recently got the royal treatment: Swash featured her sweet countenance on a genuine Swash scarf. (See below.) She's in one corner, Candy is in another. Squirrels, poop-bag dispensers, and pretty collars and leaves embellish the rest of the giant silk scarf.

It's very sweet -- just as life is for this once homeless girl who is now living happily every after.

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That's Honey in the lower right corner, with Queen Candy in the upper left.

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