The Camberwell Society

Society for those living, working or interested in Camberwell

Meet two adorable Camberwellians

FROM THE CAMBERWELL QUARTERLY

Paola Totaro got to know them while walking her dog

Camberwell’s parks and gardens are always teeming with dogs walking with their devoted human servants, but there are currently two who are unforgettable. They regularly stop traffic and melt the heart of even the most diehard anti-canine resident.

Meet Daphne, a tiny, exuberant Havanese terrier pup who barely survived her birth but hung on tenaciously through weeks of hand-rearing, and Maurice, an ancient Lakeland terrier who has lost the use of his back legs but not his cheery spirit or his passion for expensive foods.

Both dogs exude a lust for life that is infectious and inspiring.

Audrey Pickard, Maurice’s ‘mum’ only moved to Camberwell in November last year but is now well-known in the area because, in her own words, she’s “become one of those strange ladies who push their dog around in a pram”.

“I never thought I’d be doing this and at first, it was quite embarrassing, but even though Maurice can’t walk, once he’s in the park he still loves dragging himself around in the sunshine sniffing like all dogs do. It was the only way to get him from A to B. He just loves his food, isn’t in any pain and while he’s still loving life, I can’t think about it ending. I’ve talked to the vet and when the time comes he will go at home surrounded by what he knows and loves.”

I first met Audrey when Maurice could still walk on his front legs while his back legs were held up in a sling. His sheer tenacity as he shuffled up the street moved me to stop and chat and find out a little more about him.

“When I decided to move from Sheffield, my sons both told me to look in south London and I am so pleased I did because I love Camberwell. People in Sheffield said to me ‘oh it won’t be the same down there…’. Well it isn’t, it’s friendlier. Everyone stops and says hello and I’ve met so many people, probably thanks most to Maurice.”

Like Audrey, Dan Czwartos, a professional musician, is rarely able to walk ten steps in the park without someone smiling and bending down to pat Honey (also affectionately known as Daphne), now six months old. She’ a high-energy ball of silky, honey-coloured fur. Dan and his stage manager partner, Wyn, already have a dog, a feisty black Schnauzer named George. Dan had long wanted a second dog but Wyn wasn’t quite as enthusiastic. However, when a local breeder of Crufts best of breed Havanese was due a new litter (and Wyn was in New York working), fate played her hand.

“Honey was selected at birth,” Dan says, “to become either a show dog or for potential careful breeding. Her dad has previously produced excellent puppies with charming temperament and a less common red/brown colouring. However, a difficult birth led her to become severely unwell, needing hefty antibiotics that caused hair loss on her back. After weeks of hand-rearing every three hours with a dropper, Honey was thankfully able to return to the rest of her litter and get on with being a puppy. Without the loving care and medical expertise of her breeder, she wouldn’t have survived.

“Honey’s breeder is brilliant and well-known for her champion dogs. Although Honey survived, she couldn’t predict what her early health trauma might bring later in life. So she decided she could not, ethically, breed or show with her, and therefore couldn’t keep her. But she did want to find a loving home and as I knew her from the park and, well, Wyn was away, how could I resist?”

Those early weeks spent so close to a human have made Honey particularly sociable and her tiny stature, soft fur and intelligent eyes ensure that she often has an adoring circle of people around her, particularly puppy lovers and children. Dan says George, who had his nose out of joint for some weeks when she first arrived, is now protective and often hovers around her like a big brother. The two play together, often tug of war with sticks and provide endless hours of amusement at home – and for the other dog walkers in St Giles’ cemetery.

“She’s a survivor, a joy really. Wyn will still occasionally ask what possessed me to get a second dog but of course, he loves her too. She never, ever stops but honestly, I haven’t had a second thought.”

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The Camberwell Society was formed in 1970 and is the recognised amenity society for those living, working or interested in Camberwell.

The Society’s objectives, as defined by our constitution, are: to stimulate public interest in Camberwell, to promote high standards of planning and architecture in Camberwell, and to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in Camberwell.

We are a charity and raise money for local charities. In the past we have raised money for Southside Rehabilitation Association, St Giles Trust, Cambridge House, the CamberwellCommunity Choir, the HollingtonYouth Centre and the Camberwell Arts Festival