Simon Reeve's tribute to Wolfie

January 19th, 2015
Simon Reeve's tribute to Wolfie

Simon Reeve, Channel Seven’s Million Dollar Minute host, talks with Kylie Baracz about his love of animals and the recent passing of his rescue dog Wolfie.

Simon Reeve’s life with dogs started at 13 when his family adopted a Golden Retriever called Sasha who was, well, a typical Golden Retriever.

“[Sasha was] good natured and very gentle. She lived long after I left home and of course was much loved by everyone in the family,” says Reeve. “I think some of her coat is still part of the fabric of my parents’ house. That’s one serious shedding breed of dog!”

Meet Ember and Kipper

Reeve’s love of dogs continued, even as he started his own family.

“Our current dogs are Ember (short for Mbali which means flower in Zulu) and Kipper. Ember is a female Rhodesian Ridgeback, nearly five now, and Kipper is a two-year-old male Jack Russell,” says Reeve. “We lived in Botswana about 15 years ago, so Ember, with her African heritage, is a link to some great times.”

“Kipper is named after the cutest little English TV animation (funnily enough about a dog called Kipper), that our daughter Stella loved when she was a toddler. Dogs, like people, grow into their names I think.”

Kipper and Ember are inseparable friends but completely different in their personalities. Ember will happily flop on a couch all day and click her paws for dinner service, while Kipper is said to be a hyperactive nutcase. “[He] will fight hands, feet, soft toys, all enemies real and perceived. He snaps to attention at the mere whisper of the word r-a-t!” Reeve says.

“Kipper is all perpetual motion and nervous energy, and Ember’s more of an Amazonian sloth. They both co-exist with a fat rescue cat called Ponyo. Fat when we got him, sadly no less fat now. I think he swallowed an inflated Sherrin [football brand] somewhere back in time.”

Ember was bought as a next-in-line companion for Wolfie, Reeve’s original “Disney” dog, when they were living in Sydney. Wolfie came from the Animal Welfare League, picked up wandering the streets of Blacktown in Sydney’s west. “Wolfie was even more neurotic than me,” recalls Reeve. “He bonded with Linda, my partner, from day one and nothing changed until the day he left us. Linda was his lifetime focus.

“Wolfie was an amazing dog with kids. On his walks around Coogee [in Sydney’s east], many a child, terrified of dogs, was able to overcome their fears with Wolfie.”

All the fur-family members came into the Reeve household without his knowledge, but they made life for the family so much better.

“The family figured this removed the idea of democratic discussions. Here they are, get over it, was their thinking. Yes, I’m a patsy I guess,” Reeve says.

What animals teach us

Reeve travels a lot, which wasn’t in his original plan, so when he’s home he loves the company of his critters.

“We have horses and there is nothing better than throwing a baseball with my son on our small property with horses trying to eat baseballs, dogs chasing baseballs, horses chasing dogs, etc …” he says.

Reeve believes dogs especially play a vital role in the wellbeing and balance of the lives of his kids (and the adults). He says they teach children so much and are truly therapeutic in the energy they bring to a household.

“A bad day at school is somehow less of an issue when the dogs greet you at the door. I know many a dog-less house where Mum and Dad see the very idea of a dog through the narrow frame of hair on couch, pee on carpet, holiday minding and so forth. I was probably a bit like that myself before Wolfie.

“If you are reading this and thinking about a dog but still looking through that frame, then step back. In the bigger picture, it’s no contest. Kids and parents are more rounded, more empathetic, much happier with dogs in the house,” says Reeve.

“I’ve had a very good ride along with the Seven Network since we got back from Africa, with Million Dollar Minute helping keep the family and all the pets fed and sheltered these days,” Reeve says. “What I know now and into the future is that whatever happens in my career, there will always be dogs wagging their tails when I come through the door at home… and that is a very good thing indeed.”

Wolfie’s tribute

Reeve published a small tribute to Wolfie after his passing in 2013.

“You see through the images, the arc of his and your own lives and how he was just there for all the big touch-points,” recalls Reeve. “He’s either foreground or background for birthdays, holidays and so it goes. Although there is one birthday we couldn’t possibly forget for all the wrong reasons. Stella was turning 12 and her mum thought it would be a great idea to buy an expensive Croquembouche for Stella and all her friends. When accidentally left alone for 10 minutes, with said French tower of sweet delights, Wolfie also thought this was a great idea. By the time Linda interrupted, he was almost down to the foundations. It’s still a good dinner party story.”

You can watch Simon Reeve’s tribute to his dog Wolfie here:

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