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Animal attraction

Readers reveal their pet loves

Louise Carolin

Wed, 19 Dec 2012 16:08:26 GMT | Updated 4 years today

It's almost going-home time at DIVA HQ, and over the usual chatter and clatter of our open-plan office I can hear the raucous snores of Toby, who is nestled cosily under my colleague Darren's desk. Toby, in case you wondered, is a pug. An animated black velvet gargoyle with a tightly curled tail and huge round brown eyes. He has transformed office life since Darren adopted him from the Dog's Trust and started bringing him to work. Mornings are punctuated by his snuffly perambulations around the desks, claws clicking on the laminate flooring. Afternoons are enlivened by his tour of the bins… just in case anyone ditched their lunch. Everyone stops for a chat with Toby. He's a busy, busy pug. It's not surprising he's out for the count.

A new exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol celebrates the huge impact that pets have on our lives. Reigning Cats and Dogs: The Art of the Domestic Pet puts our companion animals in the picture - from the fluffy to the frightening, in representations that range from the satirical to the sentimental. Via mediums including photography, oil-painting, sculpture and woodcuts, artists illustrate our close relationships with dogs and cats, the creatures that live in our homes, hogging our sofas, making us laugh with their antics, guarding us from intruders, from loneliness, from being alone with ourselves.

My cat is not exactly my constant companion. She never misses a trip out to the bins but will happily snooze in another room while I watch TV on my own. Still, there is huge comfort in knowing she's there, lounging on one of her several designated beds, and I know that after the radiators go cold she'll arrive, with a soft whump, on mine. What am I to her? A cat-biscuit-dispensing hot-water-bottle, I suspect.


To read the rest of this feature and check out photos of readers' pets, buy a copy of DIVA's January 2013 issue.

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