Five minutes with Lucy Sewill


19 June 2019
The celebrity photographer reflects on her first experience of dog ownership, the charm of Clumber Spaniels, and how a Border Terrier stole her heart...

About Lucy

Lucy is best known for her one-on-one portraits of rock stars, singer/songwriters, actors, performers, TV and radio presenters, prime ministers, and royals.

Her books include ‘100 years of British music’, ‘Horses & humans’, and ‘Dogs and their humans’, a collection of stunning black and white images showcasing the special relationship between dogs and people (featured in the February 2019 issue of Your Dog). Lucy focuses on the bond man’s best friend shares with some of the nation’s best-loved celebrities.

Q) Tell us about your first dog.

“I didn’t actually own my first dog. Because my brother was allergic to dogs, I wasn’t allowed one. But when I was about 10, I found a stray Poodle in our front garden. We called him Danny and ended up looking after him for two weeks while the council kennels had mange and the police traced his owner. I was heartbroken when I had to give him back — he was lovely and provided me with some really happy childhood memories — but I was horrified to find out his real name was Teddy!”

Q) Tell us about your current dog.

“I’ve had a whole range of breeds, including Border Terriers, working Cocker Spaniels and Border Collies, but my current dog is a two-year-old Clumber Spaniel called Beetle. We were looking for something a bit steadier than a Springer Spaniel, and Beetle is lovely and everything we wanted him to be — loyal, docile, and trainable. We are also looking after my son’s Pug, Dudley, while he’s away at university.”

Q) Who has been/is the canine love of your life?

“It would have to be Hector, a Border Terrier. He was amazing. One of my kids wouldn’t go to bed without him — and Hector knew it was his job to sleep on my son’s bed. He was such a clever dog — he always knew what I was talking about but, at the same time, had his own mind!”

Q) If you were a dog, which breed would you be?

“I would probably be something dull! Would it be too vain to say a Saluki? They’re tall and elegant with a silky coat!”

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Q) What do you love most about sharing your life with dogs?

“I love that dogs are so interested in us. They have a constant enthusiasm for everything around them — the novelty never wears off. They don’t ever seem to think: ‘Oh it’s you again’.”

Q) Tell us a funny story about one of your dogs.

“I remember once, when my son was off school ill and bored, we taught Hector to ‘speak’. The trouble was, we never found a command to stop him so he would emit this continual wolf-like howl at will. People kept asking us what was wrong with him! In the end we discovered that picking him up and putting him down again worked and stopped him howling!”

Q) Dogs in the bed: yes or no?

“Yes! I’m all right with that, although I find that even small dogs can take up so much space!”

Q) What’s your favourite dog-related film or TV show?

“I grew up watching and wanting both Champion the wonder horse and Rebel the German Shepherd — I loved how they worked so well together.”

Q) Do you have a favourite place for a dog-friendly holiday?

“I am lucky enough to live in Dorset where there’s beautiful countryside and lots of lovely footpaths, so I don’t need to go away. But I am just about to embark on a big family holiday, walking in Derbyshire’s Peak District. There’ll be about six dogs in total, but they all get on really well together.”