Interviews

Nathan Henry: ‘My Dogs Are My World’

Nathan Henry is one of MTV’s most recognisable faces. A star of their hit show ‘Geordie Shore’, he recently appeared on E4’s ‘Celebs Go Dating’. He admits that although he’s grown up on reality TV, there’s a vulnerability to appearing on the dating show.

At home, Nathan’s life is run by his two dogs, Buddy and Buster. We caught up with him to hear all about them.


Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

Hi Nathan, thanks for chatting with us today.

Hi! No problem.

I know you have two dogs, Buddy and Buster.

I do.

Buddy’s the oldest, isn’t he, so let’s start with him. How did he come into your life?

Well, I got him with my ex four years ago. We wanted a small dog with a big personality. I didn’t want a tiny dog, like a Chihuahua, but at the same time I didn’t want a really big dog, like an Alsatian, so we did a lot of research and Frenchies seemed to have the perfect balance of personality and size, and be exactly what we were looking for really.

And when I met Buddy, I just fell in love with him and knew he was the one instantly. In fact, he chose me too, to be fair.


Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

When I went to see him, all the other puppies were running around and he, well, he had a bit of sass and attitude about him. He was pushing the others out of the way to get to me so I picked him up and he cuddled into me straight away and fell asleep.

You mentioned getting him with an ex. How did you decide who kept Buddy when you split?

Well, he was always my dog. It was my decision initially to get a dog and because of my bond with Buddy and practicalities and stuff, it worked out best for him to stay with me. Plus I looked after him more anyway.


Buddy with his new Wild Salmon Strips dog treats from Pet Munchies / Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

Buster’s also a Frenchie, so did you decide to get another because you fell in love with the breed?

Yeah, exactly that. Buster’s the complete opposite of Buddy.

I would say Buddy’s a human dog. He loves affection and attention, he loves being cuddled and he’s very nosy. Whereas Buster is quite a dog’s dog. He will play and he’ll play fetch, but he’d much rather play with dogs.

Buster has a very big personality. I mean Buddy was quite naughty when he was little but not to the extreme that Buster is. (Laughs) Buster is the definition of a terrible toddler.

He’s housetrained now but he has his hiccups. The other day I had a clothes delivery come, I brought it inside and ran to the loo. I was gone maybe 45 seconds. By the time I came back, the parcel was ripped up, the clothes were all over the floor and he was just sitting in the middle of them like nothing was wrong.


Buster wearing his new Rainbow Dogrobe / Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

Buster’s about six or seven months old now, isn’t he, so he’s been with you a few months and there’s a bit of an age gap between him and Buddy. What made now, or then, a good time to get another dog?

I think with dogs you have to be responsible because dogs are dependant on their owners, or parents, for life, so I didn’t want to make an irresponsible decision and if I’d have got another dog two years ago, it wouldn’t have been the right time. Whereas now I’m very stable, I’m very secure in what I’m doing so it just seemed like the perfect time and then when I met Buster I was like ‘wow, I’m taking you home’.

Even though he is naughty, he is just like my little shadow. Everywhere I go, he goes. If I get up to go for a drink of water he’ll come with me to tap. If I go in the bath, he tries to get in the bath. If I go in the shower, he likes to jump in the shower with me. He’s just everywhere. I love it.

How do you think he’ll cope when you go into the ‘Geordie Shore’ house?

Well, luckily my dogs have a very good relationship with my mum. She treats them like they’re her grandchildren so I know they’ll both be in safe, capable hands when I’m filming and they love seeing their Nana so it’s great for her as well.

Did you grow up with dogs?

Yeah, we always had dogs in our family, the majority have been rescued. I remember our first ever dog was a Labrador and he was lovely, we had him while he was moving homes. Then we had a big Alsatian called Prince. He came to us from one of my mum and dad’s close friends. They were moving abroad so we took Prince on.

Then there was Dexter the Dalmatian, we had him for a long time and he was great. And then my mum rescued a big French Bull Mastiff, he was absolutely massive, from a broken home. He was quite a poorly dog, bless him. So we rescued him and gave him the best life he could have had. Considering his size, he was the size of a horse, everyone was scared of him but he was the most loving and affectionate animal. He was great with kids, he loved to cuddle and snuggle right into you. He loved to be up in your business, he was great.

My mum has two dogs now. We rescued a Husky 14 years ago from the Dogs Trust, Nanook, I love her. I feel like I talk about her like she’s my sister (laughs) and recently my mum adopted a Shih Tzu cross.

My mum works in a care home and there was a lady living there and they were close. Unfortunately, she was coming to pass and she wanted someone to take Dora on and give her a home. So my mum being the dog lover that she is, was like ‘we need to take her’ so now Dora’s a part of the family as well.


Buddy and Buster wearing Buddy and Me harnesses / Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

That’s a beautiful thing to do, to give someone peace of mind like that, knowing that their dog will be cared for and part of a family.

We touched on how Buddy and Buster will cope with you being away filming for ‘Geordie Shore’. You were also on ‘Celebs Go Dating’ a few months back so you like to be busy. What is it about these particular reality shows that have drawn you to them?

I think in an ideal world everyone would like to do a job that they love and I think if you can do a job where you can be yourself 24/7 then, I mean, it’s not a difficult thing to do. Doing reality TV allows me to be authentic, it allows me to be myself. I’ve been doing it for a while now so I must be good at being me (laughs).

I just think, people still want to watch so why not still do it while I can. And I think it’s important to show real-life situations too for people to be relatable.


Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

Growing up I didn’t think I had anyone that was relatable to me. When I was about 12, everyone I sort of did relate to was 30 or 40 years old, so there was a massive age gap.

I think being young and a guy, I can be myself and be relatable to the younger generation so if they’re going through something, they might be able to relate more easily to me.

‘Geordie Shore’ and ‘Celebs Go Dating’ are quite different and some people have said that you came across a bit different on ‘Celebs Go Dating’, is that because the environments are so different or because we’ve seen you grow up on ‘Geordie Shore’ over the years?

The set up is completely different and I do think it’s a case of the environment being different. ‘Celebs Go Dating’ was much more relaxed. It wasn’t centred around my actual life, it was all about dating. And I think dating’s a vulnerable thing to do, so there was a vulnerability and rawness to it that you don’t get on ‘Geordie Shore’.


Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

I’m grateful to the show for allowing me to show my vulnerability. It showed that I’ve got depth, I’m not one dimensional.

I think I was 23 when I joined ‘Geordie Shore’ [Nathan’s first season aired in 2015] so I’ve naturally grown up and matured on the show over the years.

I think on the new series you’ll see I’m very similar to the person I am on ‘Celebs Go Dating’, it’s just a case that I’ve grown and evolved and I’m kind of aware of what I’m doing now.


Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

Aside from your TV work, I know you have a pet fashion business, Buddy and Me. Did you always want to do something like this or did Buddy inspire it?

Buddy really did inspire it. I knew I wanted to something with one of my best friends and Buddy is my best friend. A lot of celebrities go into similar types of businesses, clothing, for example, but I wanted to do something completely different. Not many celebrities have their own dog brand so I thought ‘that’s what I want to do’ and I have the best and most beautiful model in Buddy.


Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

People always say ‘don’t work with children or dogs’. We obviously disagree. How do you find working with Buddy and now Buster?

Buddy’s such a loving and caring dog, he’s such a respectful dog and he’s very obedient. And because I’m always taking pictures, he knows when to put the act on and pose so working with him is a dream because he listens to photographers, he sits, he stares, he’s so good.

He does an hour fine, then I’ve got to trick him into doing stuff with treats (laughs).


Buddy wearing his new 'Amaranth' collar and bow tie from Bramley and Walker / Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

(Laughs) That’s part of the reason we always have treats and toys on hand at our shoots. You never know when you need to bring out a bit of bribery.

Yes (laughs). Treats always work. Buddy loves balls but still hasn’t figured out how to play fetch properly. He’ll bring it back but won’t give it to you so you have to wrestle with him to get it. I mean it does make the game funnier, but still.


Buddy and Buster with their new Chuckit! toys / Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine


Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

Buster must still be learning the ropes though, being a youngster?

Yes, he needs some training (laughs). He needs to watch Buddy and follow his example because that boy just does what he wants.

I always say that these are probably questions you won’t have been asked before - and probably won’t be again - so we can have some fun.

If you were to swap roles with one of your dogs for a day, who would you choose to swap with and why?

I’d swap with Buster because I want to know what goes through his head when he’s destroying everything and I’d love to know what he’s thinking when get gets caught doing something naughty.

Buddy does this funny thing though. Whenever Buster is doing something naughty, Buddy will run towards me and sit by my leg. So whenever he does that I’m like ‘what’s Buster doing?’ and I’ll go to find him. But when I go to find him he runs behind the curtain and hides so he thinks I can’t see him, but his whole backend is sticking out so I’ll say ‘I can see you, Buster’. It’s so funny. I’d love to know what’s going through his head when he does that.


Buster wearing his new 'Emerald' collar and bow tie from Bramley and Walker Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

That’s so funny. How do you think Buster would cope with being you for the day?

(Laughs) I don’t think he would be able to cope. I travel back and forward a lot, I don’t think he’d cope with that. His attention span would mean we wouldn’t get any work done and he’d probably destroy a lot more things than he should.

We ask all of our celebrities this question, it’s all in the name of fun.

Based on personalities alone, which breeds of dog come to mind when you think of these celebrities and why?

Marnie Simpson - A Chihuahua, definitely. Her whole family of Chihuahuas is just incredible. And Marnie has a temper like a Chihuahua as well.

Pete Wicks - I think he’d be an Alsatian. He’s quite an alpha male, isn’t he? He’s also very nice to look at and he’s authoritative so yeah, Alsatian.

Vicky Pattison - A Poodle that’s got a full bouffant comes to mind for Vicky. She holds herself very well and Poodles are very glam and very pristine, they’re quite a regal dog, aren’t they.

Chris Taylor - From ‘Love Island’? Because of his hair, I think he’d be an Afghan Hound (laughs).


Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

And what about you, what breed of dog would you be and why?

I’m obsessed with Frenchies, but if I wasn’t a Frenchie, I think I would probably be a Dobermann because they do look quite intimidating but they’re actually soft and loving, and they have a great coat (laughs).

Moving onto our quick-fire questions, are you ready?

What do you do as a dog dad that slightly embarrasses you - or them - but you’ll keep doing it anyway?

I speak to my boys in a ridiculous voice and do you know what, I’m not even embarrassed about it. I do it in public as well, doesn’t matter if we’re in the park, on the street or on a train.

What’s it like?

Buster gets a baby voice and Buddy gets a voice that’s a bit more grown up, but still like he’s a child. I smother them with love (laughs).

If they do anything remotely cute, it makes me cry. That’s quite embarrassing (laughs).

When you talk to them, have you pictured in your mind what kind of accent they’d have?

Yes. Buddy’s got a very deep voice and Buster’s got a yappy voice and I think he’s French.


Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

Where is Buddy and Buster’s favourite place in the world to be?

Buddy’s would be lying with his head on my pillow and actually in my bed asleep. He’s a really lazy dog, you know. I wake up at six o’clock in the morning and he’ll growl at me as if to say ‘go back to bed’ until he’s ready to get up and I’m like ‘no, Buddy, we need to go to the toilet, it’s time to get up’. So he’ll run outside and go for a wee but then he’ll run straight back to bed and go back to sleep.

I think Buster’s favourite place to be would be any muddy puddle. If we go for a walk, especially if he’s just been cleaned, he’ll look at the puddle, look at me and then he’ll walk slowly towards it and I’ll be like ‘don’t do it, Buster’ but he’ll already be rolling around it in.


Buddy and Buster with their new shampoos from For All DogKind / Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

(Laughs) He’s going to keep you on your toes, isn’t he?

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

To always be grateful for everything you have and to love as hard as you can because dogs love with all of their heart and I think that’s something that humans should all do.

Finish the following sentence, my dogs are...my world.


Photography by Vivienne Edge Photography for K9 Magazine

This is always a tough question so you might need some time to think about it, but if you could ask your boys one question and one question only, what would you ask and what do you think they’d say?

Oh, this is interesting. Let me think.

I wouldn’t want to ask them if they love me because if they said ‘no’ I’d be gutted (laughs).

I think I’d ask them ‘are you happy with your home and is there anything I can do to improve it for you?’ and I think Buddy would say ‘no, it’s perfect, I love it’.

Buster, on the other hand, would probably say ‘can I have more things to destroy and more things to chew, and please stop putting the child gate on because I want to chew the bannister’.

Many thanks, Nathan!

 

K9 Magazine’s Thanks Go To…

Bramley and Walker – For their Collars, Bow Ties and Leads

Buddy and Me – For their Designer Harnesses for Dogs

Chuckit! Dog Toys – For their Dog Toys

Dogrobes – For their Rainbow Dogrobes

For All DogKind – For their Natural Shampoos and Scents

Pet Munchies – For their Gourmet Natural Dog Treats 

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