The Joy of Walkies, with Turner & Bell

Is it even possible to feel sad with a dog by your side? To celebrate National Dog Walking Month, we wanted to investigate exactly why walking your dog can improve your wellbeing and generally make you a happier person. And who better to ask than a company that works with eight dogs in their office every day? Turner & Bell, one of our lovely Friends of Joules make colourful, comfortable and hard-wearing accessories for dogs, made with the finest Italian calf leather. We joined Sue Bell and Chris Turner of Turner & Bell along with all eight of their dogs for a countryside walk and a chat.

Q: Do you agree that walking your dog can make you a happier person?

Sue: “Absolutely! My husband is a vet, and he always tells people that you’re not normally going to go out when it’s pouring with rain but when you have a dog you run around in the rain like they do, full of joy, and it just makes you feel a lot happier. They have a massive effect on your wellbeing.”

Chris: “It really does get you out and about too; we go out with them all at lunchtime for just 20 minutes and we have a blast. It just makes you take that time to get away from it all.”

Q: What made you want to start creating accessories for dogs?

Chris: “Well, Sue and I have been working together for the past 28 years in the leather business, supplying leather shoes to high street retailers.”

Sue: “The dogs have always come to work with us, and we noticed that you could only ever get brown and black leather accessories for your dog. So with our background in fashion, we decided to start designing leads and collars that had a bit of fun with the colours and the designs we chose.”

Chris: “I also took inspiration from my equestrian background, using traditional saddlery techniques to make sure the accessories were as durable as they were detailed.”

Q: What is it like having eight dogs in the office with you?

Chris: “It’s actually great. If you had one or two it would be just as good, we just happen to have eight with us! It can be manic, but they do all calm down eventually. It’s hard to be stressed in a room full of dogs.”

Sue: “If we’re having a proper, serious meeting then we’ll take the dogs down to the kitchen – we are sensible!”

Q: Where are your favourite places for a dog walk?

Chris: “Well we are very lucky to be in the countryside and have fields surrounding our office, so we just tend to walk them here.”

Sue: “We do go away with the dogs too, we’ve been to Scotland, the Lake District is a lovely place for walks, and Cornwall too. In fact, all of our leads are named after beaches in Cornwall and all of our collars are named after hills in the Lake District!”

Q: Do you often meet other people when out and about?

Sue: “All the time! I think people who have dogs are generally always chatty people who want to meet other dog owners. If you’re in the park or out and about, it’s easy to make that connection with each other. I think for a lot of people the social aspect is part of dog ownership.”

Chris: “And it’s a great ice breaker, you can say ‘Oh, what a lovely dog’ and it gets you talking. My wife and I go to Norfolk a couple of times a year, so we’ll go out on a long walk with the dogs along the beach and you always end up talking with somebody.”

Q: What do you love most about your job?

Sue: “It’s so nice to design and develop products that you can actually see people going out and using them, and to get good feedback from dog owners. It really has opened up such a lovely relationship with our customers; when they see we have dogs too and our dogs are our models, they just love to share photos of their dogs with us and tell us about how they love our leads and collars.”

Friends of Joules is our online marketplace for a contemporary country lifestyle. We have partnered with 100s of creative people and businesses like Turner & Bell to bring you 1000s of perfect products for you and your family (four-legged family members included of course!) in just one place.

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