Ashley James: ‘I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles’

Ashley James is a TV presenter and DJ who rose to fame on E4’s hit reality show, ‘Made In Chelsea’.

After appearing on this year’s ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, which was centred around celebrating the ‘Year of the Woman’, a topic she is extremely passionate about (anyone who has visited her social media will know how strongly she feels about this), we caught up with her Ashley to hear more about the special man in her life, her dog Snoop.

Hi Ashley, thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us and introduce us to Snoop. He’s just had a birthday, hasn’t he?

Hi! That’s right, he turned four years old on 6th June.

How did you come to own Snoop?

Actually, I got him with an ex-boyfriend (laughs).

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'
All Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9Magazine / Hair & Make Up: Gemma Thompson

So you got rid of the boyfriend and kept Snoop.

(Laughs) Exactly, yes. I kept the good part of the relationship.

What made you choose a Toy Poodle?

I knew I wanted a Toy Poodle because I had a friend who had one and I liked the fact that they were hypoallergenic and didn’t moult.

To be honest, I didn’t know much about breeding and the pros and cons around it all compared to rescuing, and that there were even breed specific rescues, but I do now for the future.

We run and it is surprising how many dogs of all breeds are in rescue, but until you know, like you say, you don’t know, do you?

Yes, exactly.

Anyway, I did know that you had to meet the puppy’s mum and dad, so I met Snoop’s mum and dad and their lovely family. They weren’t regular breeders and had planned to keep the two other puppies, so that left Snoop.

Since then, like I say, I’ve learnt a lot more about rescuing and how many dogs are in need of homes. If I’m honest, I do feel a bit guilty about going to a breeder but if I were to get another dog, which I definitely will, then I’ll adopt.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'

In fact, I met a dog during your photo shoot at the Mayhew animal rescue centre, a little three-legged dog, that I’m seriously considering adopting.

Oh great! Please keep us posted, we'd love to know what happens next.

It sounds like Snoop is your first dog but did you have dogs growing up?

I did, yes.

I actually grew up on a farm so we had Sheepdog and when I was four we had a Westie called Scampi.

After Scampi, we had rescues and ever since Monty, who I had a really negative experience with [he attacked Ashley and a neighbouring farmer’s sheep], we’ve had mongrels.

So, I grew up around them but Snoop was my first proper baby.

After your time on ‘Made in Chelsea’, we imagine you’re photographed quite a lot when you’re out and about. How does Snoop cope with the attention?

Snoop loves attention whether there’s a camera in front of him or not (laughs).

We get the tube a lot in London, he’s with me now actually, and he makes it his mission to go up to as many people as possible to try and get them to love him

You probably saw it at your shoot when he wore the crown. He’s definitely his mother’s dog (laughs).

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'

He looks very at home in a crown, doesn't he. How did city life change for you after getting Snoop?

Do you know what, I really believe that London, and life in general, has changed.

I feel that people are much friendlier and will come and talk to you if you have a dog, so you get to meet more people also walking their dogs.

You end up becoming much more sociable, and London becomes more personal - even on the tube because you end up chatting with people who want to know more about him and I think that’s amazing.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'

Has he helped you to discover any hidden dog friendly gems in London?

He has, I spend much more time outdoors in green areas thanks to him.

One of my favourite discoveries is Holland Park. It’s just so beautiful and I never knew this amazing space existed until I was trying to find new places to go with Snoop.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'
Snoop wearing his new George Barclay Holmsley collar

What does an average day look like for you and Snoop?

With my job, no day is the same to be honest, which I love.

When I wake up I always spend about 20 minutes in bed giving Snoop affection because he comes into bed in the morning. Then, no matter how busy I am I always try to take him for a walk or I’ll try to work in the park.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'
Snoop pictured with his new Randall The Rooster Rope Dog Toy

After that, it completely varies, so it might be that I spend the morning on my computer catching up on emails and writing for my blog, or I might be presenting in the afternoon and DJing in the evening.

Today I worked in Green Park and then I had meetings in London so Snoop came along with me to them. He’s a crucial part of my meetings (laughs).

Whatever I’m doing, Snoop features heavily.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'
Snoop pictured with his new Modern Beast Squeaker Beast Bone

My dogs come into the office with me regularly. They’re good to have around for meetings, aren’t they?

They are. I got him this portable dog bed from a new company, Teddy Maximus so whenever I take him in it I can just put it down and he has somewhere comfortable to sleep. It makes sneaking him into places easy (laughs).

You mention how varied your day can be. We know you have a clothing line, égaliTEE, and the current range is all about empowerment. You’re wearing a t-shirt from the range in our shoot, aren’t you?

I am.

It looks great.

Thank you.

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Have you heard about...?

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'

Can you tell us a bit about the latest collection and the inspiration behind it?

This is my third collection and it’s for PRIDE. The t-shirts are all unisex and I donate a percentage to charity.

The second collection was to raise awareness and money for period poverty and the first was about empowerment.

For me, feminism is all about equality and wanting equality for everybody so I don’t say female empowerment, I just say empowerment.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'
Ashley pictured wearing her new Love Is Love tshirt

You've used your social media platforms to talk about this as well, haven't you.

There are a lot of vulnerable people in the world who are also men, so I guess it’s about having a voice for the vulnerable.

I always say to people who don’t think they’re a feminist or don’t know if they are, ‘if you had a daughter would you want her to earn the same as her male counterpart?’. The answer is usually yes, so I think the world is a feminist even if they don’t know they are (laughs).

It's hard to argue with the logic.

You must have to travel quite a lot with work. How did you cope with being away from Snoop for so long when you entered the Celebrity Big Brother house earlier this year?

Do you know what, it was such an amazing experience and I’m so proud to have been a part of their ‘Year of the Woman’ series. I honestly had such a good time but I missed Snoop so much.

I was secretly hoping there would be a task where they’d bring him in but I knew he was in good hands. There are a lot of people in the world that love him and a lot of my friends have dogs as a result of Snoop.

But if I could take him everywhere with me, including the Big Brother house, I would because dogs just make the best companions. I mean, any time I go out with my friends they know that when I say ‘I think I’m going to go home now’ that it’s because I want to get home to Snoop (laughs).

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'

Do you use any technology, like pet cams or Facetime, to keep in touch with him when you’re away?

Not officially to be honest, but whoever is looking after him knows that I expect regular video and picture updates (laughs).

One of my good friends is a dog walker so she often looks after him for me, which is brilliant because he also gets to socialise with the other dogs.

If I have to leave him, I always prefer to leave him with someone where I know he’ll have the best time ever.

If you were to swap roles with Snoop for a day, how do you think he’d cope being you and what would you love most about spending a few hours in his shoes?

I don’t think he would cope being me and in fact, he’d probably turn me into a tennis player because he’s so tennis ball obsessed. I always say that if and when he passes I will spread his ashes on Wimbledon because he’s seriously crazy about tennis balls (laughs).

I’d love to be him for a day because he’s so happy and open-hearted.

Even in the face of people who might be scared of him or who don’t like dogs, he presumes that they will love him (laughs) and doesn’t see it, so I think it would be amazing to not have the worries that we humans have and just be loyal, compassionate and the happiest that we can be.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'

That would be great, wouldn't it?

This is probably a question you've never been asked before but based on personalities alone, which famous people come to mind when you see these breeds of dog...

Beagle – Weirdly, Dan (Dapper Laughs) who I was in the Big Brother house with comes to mind because he has a Beagle that he’s crazy about.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier – I think Kanye West because I think there’s a lot of controversy around him but deep down he’s just quite misunderstood and soft.

Dachshund – When I think of a Dachshund I think of my friend Rosie Fortescue who I did ‘Made in Chelsea’ with because to me, she’s the Queen of Dachshunds and she had one that sadly just passed away.

Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. It’s always so difficult when you lose a dog because they’re more than just a dog, aren’t they, they’re family.

I know, it’s the worst. I went round to see her with flowers because I just couldn’t imagine.

And to end, Toy Poodle – (Laughs) I mean, it can only be me, can’t it, because I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles.

I think I’m the ultimate Toy Poodle because they have blind loyalty and try to make everyday fun, and that’s the mantra that I try to live by.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'

What was the last thing that Snoop did that made you laugh out loud?

He does this great party trick where if you say something that he wants - and it’s a word he recognises - then he’ll pirouette. It’s very funny, especially if you’re with a group of friends because you’ll say ‘do you want a water or do you want some food’ and when he does and pirouettes it’s really funny.

He’s also mega clumsy so he’s constantly wiping out or running into glass doors. It’s a laugh a day with him.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'
Snoop pictured with his new treats, Pet Munchies

What is your current favourite…?

TV show – I’m so bad at watching TV, but it would probably be ‘Planet Earth’. It’s so informative and incredible how they manage to get that footage and David Attenborough’s voice is so amazing, it’s iconic.

Place to be – Tulum in Mexico, it’s the most beautiful place. It’s on the beach and so dog friendly. It’s paradise and because it’s so dog friendly it makes my heart happy.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'
Snoop wearing his new Party Beast Dog Crown

Tell us one thing people that people would be surprised to learn about you.

Maybe that I am a Geordie. I had a Geordie accent up until the age of seven, then I won a scholarship at a boarding school and had it bullied out of me.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'

What do you think is the most important life lesson we can learn from dogs?

Try not to worry too much about the future, just live in the present and enjoy the moment.

Put technology down and live in the moment.

Finish the following sentence, my dog best friend, which I tell him every day.

Ashley James: 'I’m the Queen of Toy Poodles'

And finally, this is always a tough question but if Snoop had the ability to speak and you could ask him one and one question only, what would you ask him and why?

I would like to know what he really thinks of my rescue cat, Biggie. Sometimes they play and sometimes they ignore each other so I’d love to know his opinions on sharing his home with a cat.

I’m sure my cat thinks he’s a dog though sometimes because he's invited himself along on our walks before, so I’d love to know Snoop’s real opinion (laughs).

Many Thanks Ashley!

K9 Magazine’s Thanks Go To…

Aurora Pets – For Their Designer Dog Toys

George Barclay – For Their Holmsley Leather Collar in Regal Blue

Pet Munchies – For Their Premium, Gourmet Dog Treats

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