MEET Oreo. This four-year-old adorable ball of fluff lives with Dolores and Paul Depuis in Turners Cross, but he is known as the family dog as he often goes for nights away in Ballincollig with Dolores’ grandkids, or to Cobh with Dolores’ daughter.
“My daughter ordered a special backpack online for him with windows that he can see out of,” says Dolores, whose dog features in My Pet and Me feature series.
“She comes up on her electric scooter, he hops in the bag, and off they go. He loves it.
“And he loves going to Cobh. He has a fan following there and is well known among the locals.”
Although he is called Paddy on his birth-cert, it was Dolores’s grandson Jayden who gave him the name Oreo, after his favourite biscuit.
“The name suits him as he really is as sweet as a cookie,” says Dolores, who works as a home-help.
“He’s so good with the kids, even with my youngest grandchild, Max, who’s nearly two. He’s very gentle with them and loves to play and follow them around like he’s one of the kids.”
As well as being good with kids, Oreo has a dog friend two doors down called Millie, and a complicated relationship with the cats in the neighbourhood.
“He walks over to them and just stands there staring,” says Dolores.
“And, of course, they do not budge and just stare right back at him. They probably think he’s a very unusual cat.”
As Oreo will only eat cat food and not dog food, they have much in common.
“He will eat anything with fish in it. And although we know he is not allowed to eat chocolate as it would be toxic for him, if he hears a chocolate wrapper rustling, he will be straight over, even if he’s in a ‘coma’ in another room.
“It is hard to say no to him because he’s so cute, but of course with chocolate we have to.”
Dolores’s husband Paul had a life- changing heart attack four years ago. Since then, he has had mobility issues and spends most of his time at home. However, having a little companion around the house has been greatly beneficial to him.
“He’s a particularly good dog,” says Paul.
“When I’m working on the laptop at home, he sits on top of the couch beside me waiting for the postman. When he sees him, he goes berserk, he thinks he is a rottweiler. When the postman first heard his bark, he thought he was a rottweiler as well. What a surprise he had when he saw the actual size of him.”
Although he is a mini-rottweiler at home, Oreo is very friendly on his walks, and he loves meeting dogs of all shapes and sizes.“He used to bark at big dogs, but my daughter trained him by bringing him over calmly to quiet big dogs and now he’s not scared of them, so he doesn’t bark.”
Oreo is a Maltese Shih-Tzu cross, otherwise known as a Malti-Shu or a Mal-Shi. He does not shed so is hypo-allergenic, and this breed are known for their happy-go-lucky temperaments.
“I work in the mornings and when I arrive home, he gives me the best welcome. Sometimes, when I am working, I bring him out to my mother in Ballyphehane to keep her company for a few hours,” says Dolores. “He loves his Nanny Ita. Of course, she loves spoiling him with sausages and she lights up when she sees his face.”
Oreo sleeps at the end of the bed and at times he likes to go under the blankets to get comfy.
“He’s so small that sometimes I forget he’s in the bed and I end up going from room to room, looking for him, only to find his little head looking out at me from under the covers,” says Dolores.
“A few months ago, I really thought he was gone. I was cleaning and closing the doors of each room when I finished. I thought he was downstairs but when I went down he was nowhere to be found. I kept calling his name, expecting him to run out from somewhere. When he didn’t, I got a terrible fright.
“In the end, I realised I was after locking him into one of the upstairs bedrooms by accident. I couldn’t believe it. But he is so small it’s not always easy to keep track of him. If anything happened to him though, we would be devastated. He really is the baby of the house. The whole family adore him.”