Saint Valentine’s. There’s nothing quite like sprucing yourself up for an intimate evening with your other half on what should be the most romantic occasion of the year.
So spare a thought for Ed Kearon, 26, who is being forced to share his Valentine’s Day date with two adorable pooches – who according to his girlfriend, smell more divine than he does!
Caroline Shillabeer, who has been dating Ed for the past five years, insists that her dogs Forest and Laila are involved in every special celebration throughout the calendar year – including birthdays, anniversaries, Easter and Christmas.
And as the day dedicated to love, February 14 is no exception to the rule. In fact, 26-year-old Caroline always goes the extra-mile to prepare her male rescue lurcher mix and female labradoodle for a night of indulgence and romance – leaving Ed without a whiff of intimacy on the one day it should be guaranteed.
“Ed actually has a fantastic wardrobe and always smells gorgeous, but I must confess that Forest and Laila always take centre stage once they’re shampooed, groomed and perfumed!” said the part-time model, who lives with Ed in Camden.
She’s developed a rigid ‘getting ready routine’ for her pets, which takes over three hours to complete. It starts with a full body brush from neck to tail, ensuring all loose hair from each coat is removed. This is followed by a pooch’s version of a pedicure, in which Caroline clips and files the claws of both Forest and Laila. Next up is a thorough teeth clean to produce a set of perfect pooch smiles, before the dogs hit the bath-tub for a full shampoo and blow dry.
Once clean, Caroline’s final touch is a dollop of fragranced ‘doggy perfume’, which despite Ed’s best efforts, tends to be the only wooing concoction Caroline notices.
“All of my best friends easily spend three hours or more getting ready for their own Valentine’s Day dates, but every year I spend that time making sure Forest and Laila are looking and smelling their best.
“People constantly question me on why I spend so much time pampering my dogs, but the truth is that they love being the centre of attention. My routine actually keeps them healthy too, as I can check for any physical health problems, while the essential oils in the ‘doggy perfume’ from Butch & Bess helps them relax.”
Ed also finishes second when it comes to receiving Valentine’s Day gifts. This year, Caroline has spent over £300 on a variety of pet accessories and grooming products, while Ed is set to foot the bill for a romantic weekend getaway in the Lake District.
Caroline’s outlay is reflective of growing trend in pet lovers spending a larger proportion of their income on their pets. It’s estimated that the UK pet industry is currently worth £2.7 billion.
Of course, the couple’s relationship isn’t just about the dogs. The pair have shared many romantic moments during their relationship and are looking forward to creating more lasting memories with their animal family.
“Sharing Caroline with her two dogs on special occasions was tricky at first, but I soon realised that Forest and Laila are truly amazing dogs,” says Ed.
“They’re fanatically loyal and loving, which is something I’m sure all dog lovers would understand. Even though I don’t get much alone time with Caroline on birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine’s Day, I wouldn’t change the moments the four of us share for the world.
“I am thinking of changing my cologne though! Maybe a spray or two of dog perfume would get me a bit further with Caroline on our next date!”
So with Ed set to be smelling of roses this Valentine’s Day, it looks like this case of puppy love is set to continue.