KEITH

BREED: Jack Russell Kelpie cross
ARCHITECT: David Thompson

Describe your dog.

Keith is an all or nothing kind of guy. Everyone in the neighbourhood knows Keith. He’s got this real strut about him that lives up to his name – a bit tough, but a bit comical. His body bounces when he walks so even though his face looks serious his ears are flopping around. If he sees a ball, he’ll scream, not bark – scream. If he sees food, it’s gone before you realise. He ate a whole Twix bar, wrapper included, from some poor guy sitting on a park bench.

Describe your home.

When people talk terrace renovations there are the usual things to fix. No storage, little or no natural light and poor connectivity to the outside. What we set out to achieve from the outset was the feeling of infinite space and connection.
At 88sqm the house only increased in size by the removal of a side setback. The result is one where the main living space is a continuation of the outdoor courtyard and vice versa. You can be on the sofa and looking out toward the streets trees and genuinely feel as if you are outside under them.

What sort of energy does your dog bring to your home?

He brings his big personality. Like bold colour choices in the bedrooms through to the black timber lined walls, colour has been used to personalise our home. Keith adds to that colour. He’s a constant wherever you are in the house. Always on the go, always there to help and always there to offer an opinion, usually in the form of an affirmative lick.

Was your dog considered in any of the design, layout, or choice of finishes for your home?

Its hard not to do anything without considering Keith, especially designing a house. There are obvious things like dog doors and garden beds and less obvious things like Keith’s hand-held shower in the bathroom.

Like his owners, Keith loves sunlight so its movement through the house was a key design consideration with a daybed in the front bedroom allowing Keith to capture those late afternoon rays.

What makes your dog unique?

I think what we’re most amazed at is Keith’s transformation. He’s a rescue. He came to the pound in a really bad way – malnourished, hairless, flea infested, beaten. No one wanted him. He was clearly very distressed.

He’s slowly grown into himself and with each month and year, more of his personality comes through. We’re so proud of him. It’s strange to say it perhaps for a dog, but he’s honestly come so far, and we’re all better for it. He brings us and the people around him infinite joy.

How did you choose your dogs name?

Keith’s foster family named him “Keith-e”.  We instantly just starting calling him “Keith”. “Keith-e” just seemed too cutesy - he’s a bit of a bruiser. Hilariously, he also responds to “K-Dog” and “K-Bomb”. You always know when you’ve been “K-Bombed”. It often involves Keith wanting to sit on you and give you licks for about an hour. You love it or hate it.

If your dog said something about the house, what would it be?

Keith actually did “say” something about the house. The first time we came back to the house after the rear was demolished we had Keith with us. We walked down the largely intact front corridor and when we got to the end the rest of the house was literally gone. Keith looked at us. He looked at the empty space. He looked back at us…and then he let out this long, exhausted groan. It’s as though he wanted to know what we’d done to his place! 

Any other fun stories to share?

Keith has changed our lives in so many ways – and those of the people around him. We couldn’t take him with us when we moved out to renovate. So he lived Monday to Friday with Ronda, our neighbour and spent the weekends with us. When it got to the end of the build, Ronda make it clear he was still to come to her house every day. And so he does. He trots up to Ronda’s in the morning, and trots back at night when we’re home.