Meeting Max and Willow
Introducing our newest four-legged brand ambassadors, Max and Willow, a pair of cocker spaniel siblings, and stars of their own Instagram account. We spent some time chatting to Max and Willow’s beloved human companion, Meg, to find out a bit more about their little family.
Q: We can’t get enough of Max and Willow’s Instagram updates. When did they join yours and Carl’s family?
A: Max came into our lives in January 2016 and Willow completed our little family in March 2018.
Q: Max and Willow have gained enough of a following on social media to earn the coveted title “pet influencer” but how did it all start?
A: I started their account when we got Max so that I could share her adventures with friends and family. Being in marketing, I was also really interested in testing out the nooks and crannies of the platform without having the focus be directly on myself. Back then the account was aptly titled ‘A Girl Named Max’. I was sad to let that name go, but I wanted to include Willow in the adventures too. It’s become a hobby which I love!
Q: Being Instagram-famous must be loads of fun, but can you tell us a little bit about the “trials and tribulations” of being a dog Instagrammer?
A: The positives outweigh the negatives. I think time is a big thing. Understandably, people don’t realise how long it takes to create content. Whether it’s photography, establishing new brand relationships, sharing advice, or even commenting on someone’s photo – it all takes time. My followers see the end product, but only a select few know just how much work I put into it, and that’s also okay. One thing I try to remain faithful to is being honest, approachable and real with my followers. I don’t sugarcoat real life because that’s not healthy. Sharing parts of my life is a joy but also a struggle because I’m private in my personal capacity so, I do feel pressure to maintain a public approach at times. Although, in the same breath, I can appreciate how it has edged me out of my safety bubble and enabled me to meet the most incredible people. I think it’s also easy to assume that my girls are always well-behaved and perfectly mannered judging from photos and Stories, but they’re far from that. They are works in progress – as are all growing and developing creatures.
Q: We know all dogs – even siblings – have unique personalities, how do Max and Willow differ?
A: They are worlds apart! Max’s demeanour has calmed down since Willow came into the picture. As a puppy, she was very hyperactive but has grown into a lady who is content, relaxed and regal (kind of like a cat trapped in a dog’s body). She’s an old soul and very intuitive with our emotions – it astounds me at times. She loves to play fetch and has a set routine of morning, afternoon and evening play times. If we forget, she promptly places her ball at our feet and stares us down until we play. Also, she barks at aeroplanes in the sky.
Willow is the polar opposite. She is dorky, quirky, stinky and loud. She’ll drop just about anything for a cuddle and a kiss. Her obsession with teddies is adorable – she has an after dinner routine of fetching one and cuddling it until she falls asleep. Max often steals them and buries them in the garden. Willow loves to chat and has a beautiful singing voice – often documented on our Instagram Stories.
Q: What are some of Max and Willow’s favourite outdoor activities? Do they both enjoy doing the same things?
A: They LOVE going to the beach but for different reasons. Max loves to swim and play catch with floating toys. Willow loves to explore and eat shells even though she knows she’s not allowed to. Both are obsessed with walkies – we don’t dare mention the word unless we have every intention of fulfilling it!
Q: What do you love most about being a dog mom?
A: It’s given my life purpose. Like many creatives, I suffer from depression and anxiety but having my girls has eased that burden. I wake up every morning for them (partly because they want to be fed and let out, but that’s far less poetic). I love how it’s brought our little family closer – that I can still be a mom in my way. It has pushed me to explore avenues I would never have dreamed of pursuing otherwise. It’s enveloped me wholeheartedly into a community – a family – I’ve been searching for since my awkward teenage years. Having a sense of belonging – that’s something I can never let go of.
Q: When and why did you decide to try Field + Forest™ for Max and Willow?
A: I discovered Field + Forest™ when we got Willow in 2018. I happened to stumble upon this beautiful product display stand in-store. Being a designer, I was instantly attracted to the packaging design and branding. Don’t even get me started on the VELCRO® bag closure – GENIUS. I was lucky enough to have a very knowledgeable shop assistant give me the low down on your product, which was brand new to the market. I loved the idea of supporting a local brand with premium qualities!
Q: Which of the signature Field + Forest™ recipes do Max and Willow enjoy most?
A: Max’s favourite has to be Salmon + Tuna. She goes nuts when she gets a sniff of the fishy goodness! Willow is still on the Turkey + Duck Puppy recipe which she adores! We’re excited to try out some adult recipes when she’s old enough. Not too long now!
Q: Lastly, have you got any advice or tips on raising well-behaved cocker spaniel puppies to share?
A: Spaniels are a very complex breed and require dedication, understanding and training. I think, like with any puppy; it’s important to socialise them as soon as they’ve had all their vaccinations. Safely introducing them to other dogs as well as humans, especially children, will benefit them greatly. My girls aren’t very fond of children, but it’s something we’re always working on. I highly recommend puppy training classes. We learnt a lot attending as pet parents as well.
If, like Megan, you’re interested in trying out a grain free diet, for your four-legged companions, Field + ForestTM has a range of signature recipes for both adult dogs and puppies. Packed with high-quality proteins, fruits and vegetables, you can find out more about our range here: http://www.fieldandforest.co.za/.