When I get asked why I chose to move to Cape Town from Jo’burg amongst a number of logistical reasons is one of my primary reasons, my soul mate ‘Bowie’ (now 9) was getting on in life and I earnestly wanted him to live his best life.

It may seem like a silly reason to some but the amount of unbridled joy and unconditional love this little man brought me, I wanted him to share the ‘good life’ by retiring to the coast.

July of last year, I packed my life, Bowie went to the parlour (to make a good impression) I booked a dog friendly B&B and had the most memorable road trip with my Mom and Bowie.

It is crazy to think that an animal can be your ‘soul mate’ or your best friend, it was the furthest thing from my mind when my Mom asked me if I wanted a puppy that her friends cat was not vibe-ing with but when I saw his face, his tongue sticking out – it was love at first sight.

Since then he has been my constant companion, photographed in shoots with me. We have trawled the fashion neighbourhoods of Jozi and Cape Town together. We have hiked mountains, run along the beach, explored beaches and forests together.

Most of all he has loved me, I mean, really, really, loved me – when my body was broken, when my heart was breaking, when I thought I meant nothing, when I felt ugly, unlovable or alone. He has kissed my face when I was crying (so many times), spooned me when I wanted cuddles and made me laugh more times than I can count.

I am constantly amazed at the capacity of this his little soul’s ability to love the sheer magnitude stretches way beyond his little frame. I am always in awe of  strength of his character and the light that he brings into a space.

I honestly don’t think I had ever experienced unconditional love until I met him and I have never been maternal but I love him with a fierceness that surprises me. My little man has taught me the most about love, the ability to give love and the willingness to accept a strength of love that I didn’t know existed.

A year in on our new journey and we have opened our home and our hearts to a new little man, our sweet Jimi.Bear, our odd family is growing and so is the size our hearts and our capacity to love.

I have never been as humbled as I have been by my experience as a dog Mom, every day I am inspired by what I receive from them both and I know there is more to come.

- Nicola Cooper of @nicolacoop and @fashionfurkids


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