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Casualty actress Jaye Griffiths talks about her mischievous pets

12:30 23 June 2016

Actress Jaye Griffiths relaxes at home with four-year-old Peggy the blue and white whippet and nine-year-old lurcher Rodney (Danny Loo)

Actress Jaye Griffiths relaxes at home with four-year-old Peggy the blue and white whippet and nine-year-old lurcher Rodney (Danny Loo)

© 2016 Danny Loo, All Rights Reserved

Jaye Griffiths, whose CV is a roll-call of prime-time British dramas, has two friends who help her to stay relaxed amid the whirl of a TV film set – her whippet Peggy and lurcher Rodney. The Barley actress tells Laura Vickers about the joy they bring

Actress Jaye Griffiths and her husband Paul Bezodis relax at home with four-year-old Peggy the blue and white whippet and nine-year-old lurcher Rodney (Danny Loo)Actress Jaye Griffiths and her husband Paul Bezodis relax at home with four-year-old Peggy the blue and white whippet and nine-year-old lurcher Rodney (Danny Loo)

Like all dog owners, my husband and I own the best dogs in the world. Four-year-old Peggy is a blue-and-white whippet of a rare and delicate beauty and Rodney, (or Sir Rodney, to give him his full title) is a nine-year-old lurcher of grace, courage and a wistful loyalty. They are our joy. However, they are also cheeky, naughty tea–leafs! Their philosophy is ‘If you put it down, it’s mine. If you think about putting it down, it’s mine.’ I have often heard a dining room chair being dragged across the room as Peggy attempts to get the treats from my coat pocket.

And how many times have I ended up on the floor because two dogs have managed to stretch themselves out on the sofa? They are upside down, legs doing the dream samba and I am deeply uncomfortable on my six-inch square of cushion. But their vulnerability is so charming that we don’t want to break the spell. So we let them sleep and we sit on the floor. I know there are those who find that bizarre but when you share your home with a creature that arrived scared of the world and months later she is secure and happy enough to push you slowly off the sofa, well it’s difficult to be ‘top dog’. Relinquishing the furniture seems to us a price worth paying.

Outside of sofa lounging, they are hunters. If it moves, chase it. If it stands still, chase it in case it moves. It is something to behold when you watch creatures bred for speed run with their whole hearts. It is breath-stealing. They can cross a field in seconds. They go from standing to full sprint in a head turn.

They have been on set with me on a number of occasions. They are very settled in the trailer and make full use of the space, throwing their toys around and moving their beds. My only misgiving with set visits is the catering truck. Within seconds of arrival they are at the back door and the kind chefs feed them sausages and bacon. Even though you stress that they do not need any supplements to their diet, the crew and cast all secretly give them titbits and I go home with fat dogs. However, as I work long hours I am very fortunate that I am able to take them with me.

The only advantage to leaving the beasts at home is the return. The crowding of you as two dogs attempt to get as close to you as possible while they shake their bodies from side to side in a tail-wag frenzy is a delight. Perhaps that is one of the main reasons we share our lives with this other species. They cannot lie. Their feelings are only now. They do not re-hash yesterday’s woes; they revel in today’s joys.

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