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Pets at Work: Martha at Sunken Studio Leeds

 
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There's something about Martha. No this isn't a tribute to the 90s Cameron Diaz film, but it's an account of a special little Schnauzer. If I could summarise four year old Martha in three words it would be poised, loyal and elegant. She's the second in command to Rebecca at Sunken Studio Leeds, a ceramic workshop specialising in unique handcrafted pieces and hands on workshops for the public. I visited the pair to see for myself what their typical working day was like ...

Straight away, upon meeting Martha, I realise that she's quite an independent little lady. She's devoted to Rebecca, but doesn't need to be by her side every minute of the day and she's developed a stay at home routine that suits her down to a T.

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Rebecca shows me the Sunken Studio workshop space, a converted basement that seems to go on and on with every corner that I turn. It's like stepping into my dream workspace. Martha doesn't follow us, instead she's at the top of the stairs in her favourite snoozing spot. This is where she spends her days while Rebecca works downstairs. Schnauzers are a breed renowned for guarding their owners, a characteristic I get to experience for myself. Martha asks me for cuddles, lingers in a cat-like manner at my feet and asks to sit on my knee. I'm touched by her friendly nature. Besides getting to know me, Rebecca tells me that she's also doing it as a way to keep Rebecca safe. By Martha's logic, if she's sat with me, she knows her owner won't come to any harm. I love hearing about this bond - the pair know each other inside out.

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After a workshop tour, Rebecca nips out for cake and straight away I witness Martha's loyalty. She resumes position at her lookout spot, peering through the bay windows from the armrest of the sofa. She's fixated, watching until Rebecca returns. It makes me think about what Ted, my little Cavalier, must get up to when he's left alone in the house. For a moment I feel like I've got an inside look. Martha's reluctancy to play, means I get some gorgeous shots of her, so still and sharp, and when Rebecca does walk through the front door, Martha greets her with the warmest welcome.

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Together, we sit and eat cake and forget all about the working day. I get some beautiful shots of Rebecca and Martha together; having cuddles, enjoying tea and cake, just basically being themselves and it's a joy to see. 

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I have one last trip into Rebecca's workshop, perusing all of her fabulous new ceramic jewellery pieces. Unlike before, Martha follows us down into the workshop and Rebecca tells me that it's around this time of day that she will actually venture down. She gives Rebecca a little nuzzling nudge to remind her that it's time for a cuppa and to finish work.

I've noticed that this is a behaviour that's common among all of the studio, shop and office dogs that I've had the pleasure of meeting over the past few months. Dogs are so attuned to their routine, meaning not only do they keep their busy owners company throughout the day, but they remind them not to work too hard. Thank god for their inbuilt clock as I know we're all a bit guilty of not being able to clock out, put our feet up and relax. Our pets are definitely pros at that, so perhaps it's something we can learn from them?  ... 

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To see more of Martha, view the full album here and stay tuned for more Pets at Work posts. If you are a small business based in the North with a four legged assistant, and would like to be featured, get in touch emily.petstories@gmail.com

For more information on Sunken Studio and the ceramic workshops Rebecca holds, visit the website and Instagram feed.