We have never met anyone who loves their dog as much as Eamonn and Ruth love their sweet Maggie.
Since reintroducing it nine years ago, Eamonn, previously “not so agitated for pets”, has become soft as butter when it comes to all dog stuff.
It also becomes more emotional several times during our chat. The couple also admits that not only do they bring Maggie to work with them, but now they only go on vacation with the dogs, so they never have to be without her.
As ambassadors of the Dogs Trust, the couple joined forces for our Notebook magazine’s campaign with the charity organization to prevent the dog from abandoning after the blockade.
The famous ‘A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas’ has been changed to ‘Not Just For Lockdown’, to make dog owners aware that their four-legged friends expect a home forever, not just to be distracted during Covid 19. And these two know all about the love that a dog can bring to a family.
During our chat, Maggie jumps into Eamonn’s lap and licks him a lot as she lovingly says to her: ‘All for you! Our celebrity puppy! and the couple shrieks with joy every time little Maggie shows them carefully. They are absolutely impressed.
Eamonn even had a life-size bronze statue of his made for free. Their 18-year-old son Jack is also besieged by Maggie and we are sure he pampers himself when he gets out of bed, usually around two in the afternoon.
They managed to continue working on This Morning and Celebrity Gogglebox, but they have overcome the blockade like all of us. All with the help of a little bastard named Maggie …
Have you always been a dog?
Eamonn: Not at all. I was a little selfish before I had it. I thought I didn’t want the smell of doggie, the hair, the fact that I should have walked one.
Ruth: It was our son Jack who was crazy about having a dog, but Eamonn would hear these stories of people jumping in the rivers to save their dogs and he thought he was crazy!
IS: And here I am nine years later with Maggie, and I would absolutely do it.
How did you find it?
IS: I was asked to cut the ribbon at our local Dogs Trust Center to celebrate 10 years. They convinced me to do it, and while I was there I saw an adorable little dog and sent a video to Ruth.
R: He wanted Jack and I to go and see him, but we were on vacation, so we came back when we got back. But it looked like it had been renewed.
IS: So who comes over? He jumped on Jack and started to lick and pamper himself. After a while I left them there to go to Wembley to watch the soccer ball, and when I called Ruth saying what time I would be home she was still there with the dog!
R: It was decided that day that if we met the criteria, which luckily we did, she would go home with us. The rest is history.
So Eamonn, must you have been conquered right away?
IS: I just wanted to protect her. At first she was so scared, and I was angry that she might have been mistreated when they found her. It is a beautiful creature.
Whenever I have had a lousy day and want to kick the couch at 9:00 pm when I get home, the thing that makes it better is the dog! She jumps on me, licks me, is excited to see me and brings me something as a gift.
I just forget what I was worried about. I am a better person thanks to my dog. And I’m more caring and caring because my dog loves me and I love her back.
Did Maggie make the block more manageable?
R: Yes, it is always here for us. I cannot visit my mother in a nursing home and Eamonn cannot see her mother, who is 92 years old and is in Belfast. It has been difficult. But it gives us attention.
IS: A positive aspect of the blockade was the family moment. And Maggie is part of the family. At Father’s Day I received a note from each of my five children. Maggie’s card for me was signed with a paw print.
R: Maggie is loved as much as one of our children.
IS: I know it makes people who don’t have dog experience want to throw up. But it is a bond and unconditional love. When Jack leaves his room in the late afternoon, he looks for Maggie.
When Ruth goes to bed, Maggie goes with her! And this is my wife who said there will never be a dog on that bed. It is now every day.
Any accidents along the way?
R: Yes, but it’s never his fault. It was made through love.
IS: I fed her Wotsits who disagreed with her practically. We have cream colored carpets and we had to have a professional cleaner. I hadn’t told Ruth that I had given her at this point, since the poor boy is saying, ‘I just can’t get him out. It’s orange. It’s almost shining! ‘.
R: I was furious when I found out. So the moral of this story is not to feed your Wotsits dog.
Does Maggie have a favorite?
R: Well, I get a little offended as I walk the dog more than anyone else and she always gravitates towards Eamonn.
IS: You say this, but the other week, when Ruth had been away for a few days to shoot her QVC program, I thought Maggie was going to have a heart attack when she saw her. I have never seen such excitement. He was screaming, going crazy. He shares his love well.
We see that Maggie likes a trip to This Morning’s studio with you …
IS: Ruth has been the same with Maggie as with the children. A cautious, anxious person. That’s why it’s so easy to make jokes! He always worries that there may be another dog in the study that Maggie will fight with despite never having fought with anything!
R: Leave the window open even in the car. What if it turns up?
IS: She only likes the air on her face! So she’s fantastic in the studio. It is dim though. He will not play to take or follow commands.
R: We were shooting Celebrity Gogglebox and trying to put it on the sofa and it was just staring blankly.
Did we hear you were gardening to spend time in Eamonn block?
IS: Well, that’s how much I love the dog …
R: Basically Eamonn is obsessive on the lawn and loves the stripes on it and everything else.
IS: But when Maggie pees on the grass, it burns her. In the past I would have sent a dog to prison for that, but I know there is nothing he can do about it.
R: He was trying to turn Maggie into a toilet in the garden, but I said no to that.
Are you grateful to have met Maggie that day?
IS : Yes. I see everything through his eyes. I sit in my chair and watch nature’s programs and see Maggie’s eyes on the other creatures. It taught me the incredible bond we can have with animals.
R: A dog is the best medicine for so many. They take you out on foot and keep you healthy. I am never a burden, I am your family.
IS: There is a special type of love that you feel from redirecting a dog that has previously been abandoned. Take the opportunity for a beautiful animal. It is special to know that you have given a dog a home forever.
And Maggie has completely changed me for the better. I am eternally grateful to you.
For more information on adopting a dog or training the dog to cope with the end of the blockade, visit the website Trust of dogs