Man & Dog
A pet says a lot about who you are, but perhaps none more apparently so than the dog you choose. “You project your personality onto your dog,” says film director Mr Brody Baker, one of five pairs of volunteers we chose to photograph for this story. “I think we look for dogs that represent us physically. That is why there is so often a correlation between appearances.”
So do owners actually look like their dogs? Do we cast our own wants, desires and styles on to our pets? Whether your dog is a welcome antithesis of you, or a complete iteration of your four-legged self, a hound is a true companion.
“You buy into a dog and a certain breed,” says creative director Mr Andrew Wren. “You want your dog to be who he/ she is, but there is a limit to when that works and when it doesn’t.” This is particularly true in a city like New York, where homes are often small flats and parks are rarely for off-leash roaming.
“You want your dog to be who he/ she is, but there is a limit to when that works and when it doesn’t”
Despite this tight urban setting, New York is full of dogs of all sizes and shapes, pure-breds and mutts, pounding the pavement come rain, snow or scorching sun.
As with Messrs Baker and Wren, all five of these men and their dogs are making it work in the big city, with regular weekend trips upstate, to Montauk or Long Island. Even if owning a dog in this city means climbs in the stairwell during winter, getting pulled by their mate on a skateboard or walking six miles before breakfast, they are united in the same opinion – that they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Meet five New York men and the dogs they call friends as we explore their relationship and how they have grown together against the backdrop of the city.
Mr Jesse Cole and Lucy
A born and bred New Yorker, Mr Jesse Cole, 42, the CEO of women’s fashion label Haute Hippie was raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. “I’m a creature of habit, so I’ve never really left New York City,” he says. He now lives with his wife and Haute Hippie founder, Ms Trish Wescoat Pound, in the West Village with their eight-year-old English Labrador Lucy. Like Mr Cole, Lucy is a true city slicker, having lived around SoHo and uptown near Central Park.
“Growing up in New York, I love to walk everywhere,” Mr Cole says. “Having a dog take me to explore is an amazing thing. It’s like a partner. You don’t need a friend, you don’t need to call someone, you don’t feel alone, it’s that eternal companionship.”
On weekends they head up to their house in Long Island, take a walk and end up at a Bobby Van's where the waiters give Lucy a big T-bone to chew on.
Mr Cole says Lucy has an old soul, is very protective and doesn’t stray far on their morning walks to work, despite never having been leashed. “She’s incredibly peaceful,” he says. “Just look at her, it’s almost as if she wakes up in the morning and takes a Valium to start her day.”
Mr Angus McIntosh and Thembi
Co-owner of design and build firm Ennis McIntosh, Mr Angus McIntosh, 28, is almost unmistakably a Sydney boy. Trained in building construction and then as a carpenter back home in Australia, Mr McIntosh moved to New York five and a half years ago, and in 2012 started Ennis McIntosh with fellow designer/ carpenter Mr Sean Ennis. Together they specialise in designing retail spaces, restaurants and fashion showrooms. Their client base includes Acne Studios, Saturdays Surf NYC and Converse, and they have worked on such eateries as Dimes café in the Lower East Side, Gilligan's pop-up bar at the Soho Grand and Moby Dick's in Montauk.
Mr McIntosh lives in an industrial loft in Gowanus, Brooklyn with a housemate and his dog Thembi (aged two), a half husky, half Carolina dog or American dingo. A rescue from Arkansas, he found Thembi online, before she was delivered by bus to a pick-up point upstate. These days they’re almost inseparable.
“I take her to work almost every day, she comes everywhere with me,” says Mr McIntosh. “We’re in the workshop a lot, so she grew up around loud noises and us building furniture, but she knows what to do.”
If they’re not driving around together for work in Mr McIntosh’s 1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer, he and Thembi will get up early and do a six-mile walk into Manhattan from Brooklyn, or go on hikes in New Jersey at Harriman State Park.
“Sometimes it’s a pain to get yourself out of bed on Saturday morning when you want to sleep in and she’s up at 7.30am,” says Mr McIntosh. “She hogs the bed too… but she’s a sweetheart, a real lover.”
Mr Noah Neiman and Ozzy
“Ozzy loves women,” says master fitness trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp, Mr Noah Neiman, 30, of his black and white pit bull, German short-haired pointer cross. “He’s a flirt. He kind of walks down the street with this confident strut and people just gravitate towards him.” Mr Neiman says Ozzy gets his sassiness from his girlfriend, Ford model Ms Olga Kaboulova. The three live together in a flat near Washington Square Park.
He’s also best buddies with actress Ms Amanda Seyfried’s dog, Finn, who they often meet at the local dog park. “Ozzy is actually pretty famous,” laughs Mr Neiman, “he’s been on Perez [Hilton] and on a documentary. He’s got this really strong personality which people love. I’m just trying to be like my dog when I grow up.”
Mr Neiman found Ozzy at an animal rescue centre in Long Island and remembers he had to distract another couple that were looking at him so he could grab him.
Dog and owner physical similarities are particularly apparent here – both are muscular and fit. As a Nike-sponsored trainer and fitness consultant Mr Neiman is called upon to preach the good word about health and wellness. He’s even got his dog on to it. “Ozzy is very active. In winter I get the laser pointer and have him chase it up and down the stairwell in our building.”
But, despite his 85-pound frame and his pit bull genetics, “he’s a moosh”, says Mr Neiman of Ozzy. “He’s my boy and we kick it together.”
Mr Brody Baker and Pip
Pip is the most obedient dog we meet, very comfortable posing on set, in exchange for dog biscuits. “I always try and get Pip a cameo,” says her owner, Mr Brody Baker, 33, a film director and the executive creative director for branded entertainment at Starworks, a communications agency creating ideas and marketing strategies for brands.
“I think in her past life she was definitely in front of the camera,” he says of Pip, who is sitting on a chair shaking his hand. “She just knows how to work it.”
The face of a boxer, Pip is part Labrador and gets her spotted markings from a breed called a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog.
“We try to match quite a bit,” says Mr Baker. “I have a lot of monochromatic colour in my wardrobe, and she’s inspired that.”
During the week, if she’s not at work with Mr Baker, Pip’s at home or at doggy day care in Williamsburg, where the two live with Mr Baker’s producer girlfriend Ms Cassidy Ellis. Pip needs a lot of exercise, so on weekends the two go on bike rides, for runs, and spend a lot of time upstate. “Pip also likes to pull me on my skateboard,” he smiles.
Despite her tough look, Pip is a very feminine creature, “very sensitive, but also a total goofball”.
Mr Andrew Wren and Iggy
“We wanted the dog from the Mike Mills film Beginners, so that’s where we picked up on the breed,” says Mr Andrew Wren, 39, of his Parson Russell, Iggy.
An Englishman from Brighton, Mr Wren is the creative director at Out There, a creative agency in New York and Milan working primarily with luxury fashion brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Buccellati, Salvatore Ferragamo and Valextra. Prior to this he ran his own design studio, Everyday Workshop, and was bespoke art director on Wallpaper* magazine in the UK.
Iggy is a terrier, like a Jack Russell, with slightly longer legs and wiry hair, and lives in Williamsburg with Mr Wren and his wife Ms Rhianna Rule, a photo director at Teen Vogue. They don’t think Jack Russells are the easiest dogs to take on in small living environments such as New York, so regularly head out with Iggy to the beach in Montauk to surf.
“They need a lot of space as they’re quite anxious dogs,” he says. Inquisitive and fearless by nature, this combination can get them into trouble with other dogs explains Mr Wren. “He was actually banned from one doggy day care for bad behaviour,” he says, smiling. “He’s a bit scrappy here and there… but he’s bold, and we like big personalities.”
Despite being the largest type of spaniel Clumbers are typically the slowest of this breed. Gentle and loyal but aloof in nature, their sedate style owes them their nickname as the “retired gentleman's spaniel”, making them the perfect companion for an evening by the fireside (if it’s that type of place), whisky in hand.
Though often pegged as being stubborn and lazy with the temperament of a grumpy old man, the bulldog is very calm and relaxed in nature. Full of character, this breed has risen high in the fashion stakes, with good reason. They are happy to lie about most of the day and require relatively minimal grooming to look this devastating.
By all appearances, a Great Dane might seem like the worst possible candidate for domestic flat living (particularly in Manhattan). But despite their enormous size and demeanour, these dogs are true gentle giants. Shy and calm in nature, they are comparatively easy to train and at their happiest curled up on a (sizable) sofa.
Be it Queen Victoria, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas or Picasso, dachshunds have long been popular companions for all sorts of people. Playful and good-natured, the adult sausage dog is an ideal family pet. And due to their size – long torso and short legs – they don’t need much exercise and are adaptable to small living spaces, however, they do need a lot of interaction.
Despite their lean and muscular build, the elegant and lithe greyhound is in fact rather lazy. Known for their explosive speed on the racetrack, as domestic pets these placid dogs are in fact retirees and can quite happily sleep for much of the day.