Our founder, Zak Biddu, has had a very close bond with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home since childhood. The latest addition to Zak's expanding canine family is an energetic black Labrador called Dotty, who you can't help but fall in love with.
The amazing work that BDCH does should never go unnoticed or be under-appreciated. Kicking off with National Dog Week, we're running a special promotion donating 10% of each eyewear purchase to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home PLUS a 15% customer discount using the code DOGS15. The promotion is to help raise money and awareness for this amazing charity that's become very close to all of our hearts here at Hook LDN. We caught up with Zak to talk about his dogs and involvement with the Home.
Q. Tell us about the work you do with the Home as a committee member.
A. My main role on the committee is to help organise the Gala event every year in Battersea Park, which is on the 2nd November this year. There are regular meetings towards the organisation of that, as well as meetings to offer general advice and guidance to the BDCH team. I also contribute to the auction prizes and guest list / celebrity attendance plans e.g. getting a table for the event and getting others to buy tables to get involved etc. There's a brilliant team at Battersea working on the events day-to-day and then every few weeks myself and the other committee members will join to help out with top line stuff, just to make sure that we're getting as much exposure as possible with big-hitting ideas.
Q. What prompted you to get involved as a patron of the Home?
A. I've always loved dogs, so any charity that's dedicated to bettering their lives has my seal of approval. With Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, it's central and world-renowned, so I've always been very familiar with it having grown up in London myself. I got my first dog from BDCH when I was 8 years old after my mum's Terrier passed away. I was given the responsibility of selecting the new family dog, and I remember it like it was yesterday.
There was a new litter of German Shepherd puppies which were adorable, but they were too young to take away that day. I was so overcome with the emotion of being there, that I just couldn't leave without taking one home. So, instead of the puppy German Shepherds, we chose a 9 month-old cross breed called Sheba. She had a slim body, a long tail and big, elephant-like ears ... she was unlike anything we'd ever seen before and no one really knew what cross breed she was! She lived with us until she was 17 years old and was a fantastic companion.
In the last year of her life, I was walking her and an elderly French lady came up to me and asked about her and said to me, "you know, I haven't seen this breed for many many years". I said, "oh no, she's a cross breed" and this lady said to me, "no no, she's a French Shepherd". All 17 years of her life she had been dismissed as a mongrel, when actually she was an incredibly rare pedigree! She was fantastic. That started my love affair with the home.
Q. What would Dotty and Roxy's anthems be?
A. Dotty's a bit of a hooligan, so she'd listen to Fatboy Slim or Oasis ... she'd probably be one of the Gallagher brothers if she was a rockstar! Roxy is so elegant and so stylish, so she'd probably be someone like Bryan Ferry.
Q. Which Hook LDN frames would the girls choose if they could?
A. Dotty would definitely wear something like the Apex; I think she'd want something quite showy, bold and brash. Roxy would probably prefer something more demure, like the Wander or Brook, something quite refined and classic.
Q. Where is your favourite place to walk Roxy and Dotty?
A. I love going to Richmond Park as it's so large and beautiful. The only problem is in season, there can be a lot of deer roaming around, which can be fairly dangerous. Kensington Gardens is really nice but it can get very busy, especially at weekends. The most perfect place is Wormwood Scrubs or 'The Scrubs', out west, which is just a massive green space, and there's barely anyone ever there. You can park right up next to it and it's just so practical.
Q. If you could be a dog, what type of breed would you be?
A. I'd like to be a Pointer like Roxy. She's a breed that's great in all situations and conditions ... a dog as comfortable in the countryside as in the city. I'd want to be something fast and elegant that has a bit of presence but can also be quite demure. That's probably not quite me! But that's what I'd like to be.
Q. Do you keep in touch with the dogs when you're away working?
A. Oh absolutely! I try and take them with me as much as possible. If I'm going away on holiday, I'll always try to find a suitable place with the dogs in mind. I just spent a month in the south of France and I made sure that it was a great location for Dotty and Roxy. It had large, enclosed grounds for them to run around in, and the villa was situated in an area that had a lot of walking routes. If I'm away for business for a few days, then they're looked after by trusted friends or family, but I always call multiple times a day to make sure they're OK.
Q. Will you be adding to your canine family in the near future?
A. 1000%. I was actually at BDCH yesterday and I had to try SO hard to stop myself from bringing another dog home! Every time I go I want to leave with a new member of the family, so it's always a dangerous trip! Two dogs in central London is a handful but manageable, but I think three would be tricky, especially with Dotty still being a puppy. In the future, I'm sure I'll have quite the brood!
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