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Who let the dogs out?

Published:Sunday | August 31, 2014 | 12:00 AM
A young Kimberly Hew shares the spotlight with her brother's put, Zeus - Contributed photos
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Krysta Anderson, Lifestyle writer

They say a dog is a man's best friend. Who would have thought the same could be said for a woman?

Well, Kimberly Hew is the owner of not one but three dogs. Hew is the proud owner of three German shepherds - MB, Walter and Hercules - whom she calls her best friends.

She told Outlook: "My family always had German shepherds. I had my first dog when I was around seven years old. It was a tradition in my family to name the dogs after Greek gods and my brother's dog was Zeus, so it followed that my dog should be Hera. She died of poisoning a year later and I was devastated."

Losing a loved one at such a tender age can be a traumatic experience. Luckily, it taught Hew the lifelong lesson of death and rebirth. When she returned home from school the day after the tragedy, she was greeted by 11-month-old Janka. "She was skittish at first, but I calmed her down and she ended up sleeping in my bed that night. We were inseparable after that. When I left home to go to school abroad, everyone on the island in The Bahamas where my parents lived knew when I returned home for the holidays. Janka would stop what she was doing, swim across the creek, and be at the front gate on the mainland waiting expectantly. I still haven't figured out how she always knew when I was coming," Hew revealed.

Her move to Jamaica several years ago for work would not have been complete without a new 'best friend' and she found just that and more with MB (My Boy). MB is currently three and a half years old and Hew got him when he was only six weeks old. Later, Walter and Hercules joined the lot and they became her canine family. Walter is two years old, she has had him from he was eight months old, while Hercules is one year and eight months and she received him when he was five months.

International Persona

Big dogs like German shepherds come with big personalities, and Hew likes to think of them in international terms. She explains, "MB is American - confident, can be pushy, feels entitled, can be loud and demanding at times. Walter is British, thoroughly enjoys a cup of tea (seriously - he will take a sip of your tea if you're not watching), and he can be a proper gentleman. And Hercules is German, stubborn and determined to have his own way. However, he is still a puppy, so he's quite loving and always in search of a cuddle."

She explains that Hercules is the baby while MB is the ultimate protector. Morning routines include Hercules and Walter playing and picking on MB, but in the evenings MB and Hercules will play together while Walter plays by himself.

Living Arrangements and Grooming

The three musketeers spend time inside the house as well as outside. She confessed that they tend to make a mess in the house as they are so large and shed a lot, so grooming for the canine family happens once a month and, according to Hew, they love it, especially the 70-minute brushing.

Naughty and Nice

Getting their own way and doing just about anything to get it is a constant issue she faces with them every day. Hew highlighted a naughty moment from each of them, "MB jumps the fence and chases the gardener next door just so that he can spend more time inside. Walter rips up my pillows when I leave him alone inside (the vet said it is separation anxiety); Hercules punctured my boyfriend's bike tyre, I guess he wasn't about the sharing life," she remarked goodnaturedly.

But they win her over every time they sense that something is wrong, "When I cry, or if I'm upset, they all gather around and form a protective circle. They even did it for my friend, who was comforted by their action."

Travel Package

Hew, who has a second home in Portland, takes her dogs with her whenever she visits the cool parish. "They enjoy travelling, but Hercules sometimes gets carsick. Once he gets there, he's fine and insists on having a swim every morning in the sea, which is close by," she declared.

Dog Advice

Her advice to aspiring dog lovers: "Be careful what you wish for - they can be a handful and require a lot of attention. Do not allow it to impact your personal relationships with people." She does, however, proclaim that German shepherds are incredibly intelligent, loyal and good protectors, so she recommends that you choose dogs based on the qualities you are looking for. You should also choose dogs that fit your personality - if you enjoy watching television all day, don't choose an active dog like a German shepherd.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com