Wednesday 20th September 2017
Timothy used to love going for long walks with his owners Rory and Ann Fox from Harrow, North-west London but an enlarged heart and regular seizures left him confined to the house.
But his owners were determined not to leave him behind when they went out for day trips or on holiday – and discovered that a Royal British Legion jute bag with a poppy design was perfect to enable them to carry him with them.
He is now inundated with photo requests wherever he goes and has his own dedicated website www.doginabag.co.uk and Twitter and Facebook pages so fans can follow his adventures. Fans can even have their own timothy the dog calendar featuring photos of his adventures.
And his owners take him to places with a dog-related name each year for his birthday – including Barking, Barkham Manor in Berkshire and the Isle of Dogs!
The environmentally-friendly jute bags are produced for the Royal British Legion by Jutexpo, the world’s biggest supplier of reusable jute bags, who have now designed Timothy his own unique bag featuring his picture and a “feel free to take my photo” message in response to the repeated requests to take his picture. They have also offered him free bags for life.
The jute bags have a lifespan of up to four years, so are the perfect size and strong enough to carry Timothy.
The wandering spaniel, who is 12 on September 21, first had a seizure whilst walking from the Tube into Camden in London with Rory, 37, a network administrator, and Ann, 41, an English language teacher.
Rory said: “The breed has a weak heart, which cases it to swell and press against the lungs, leaving Timothy short of breath. The average age of a King Charles is around eight or nine, so he is doing very well to still be here.
“Timothy first collapsed on a hot day while we were sitting on a bench outside a café.
“He looked like he was a goner but we carried him home in our arms and when we got to the end of our street he recognised where he was and wanted to walk the last few yards home.
“He was then able to walk short distances but the next time we went on another long walk he had another seizure.
“We were faced with a decision between leaving him at home on his own or carrying him with us, so we hunted around for a strong suitable bag and the jute Royal British Legion Poppy Bag was the perfect size for him.
“I can put the bag on the floor without it falling over, and then put Timothy into it on my own. He's a good nine kilos, so carrying him all day is no joke: having the comfortable handles makes the difference.”
“We didn’t realise he would attract so much attention but the first time we took him out in his bag was on a trip to Saltaire in Yorkshire, I hung his bag on a fence post while I bent down to tie my shoelace and when I looked up there were half a dozen people taking his photo.
“People are always asking to take his photo and he has become a bit of a celebrity. I carry him onto the Tube on the way to work and he even makes people on the Tube smile, which is an achievement.
“We have had little business cards printed telling people they are welcome to take his picture and giving them details of his website, so they can read all about him and why he is in the bag.
“We have just come back from a fortnight camping in Shropshire and he loved it.
“It is like having a celebrity in the family. We have only ever had two people complain that it is cruel but if he didn’t like it he would try to get out and the alternative is to leave him sitting at home on his own for five hours until one of us gets home from work.”
Sam Turner, compliance director of Jutexpo, said: “Our bags are usually used as a reusable and environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic bags and were not designed with adventurous dogs in mind but we are delighted that our bags are perfect for helping Timothy get out and about.
“We thought he deserved a bag of his own and hope he enjoys travelling around in it.”
Jutexpo is the world’s biggest supplier of reusable jute bags and has more than 80 per cent of the UK market.
The company’s jute bag production rose from 5.5million bags per year before the English plastic bag tax was introduced in 2015 to help reduce litter and protect wildlife, to 8.5million in the year of the bag tax and 7million a year since.
Jute is a fully sustainable product and it is estimated that there is enough to provide everybody in the world with two bags per year.
Jutexpo partners with a wide range of charities to produce fund-raising jute bags, raising millions of pounds for good causes across the UK.