Colleague Profile – Kay Turner

Our latest colleague profile features our General Counsel and Chief HR Officer, Kay Turner.

Kay joined The Insurance Emporium as Company Solicitor nearly 22 years ago when she was newly qualified; she later became the Chief HR Officer too, yet she somehow manages to run a household full of animals.

Kay grew up with cats and didn’t get her first dog; a rescued German Shepherd cross, until 2006. Along with her husband, Giles, she went on to take in more rescue dogs and cats and up until a couple of years ago her menagerie included 2 dogs, 4 cats, a fish and two giant rabbits! Her household was, in her own words, crazy.

She sadly lost her beloved Border Collie last year and it took a long time to even think about getting another dog, but Martha, their Labrador, was used to having another dog around and wasn’t happy as an only dog, so they started looking around for breeds that would fit in with the chaos.

Because they already had so many other animals it wasn’t appropriate to get another rescue dog. Giles had always had working Labradors, but Kay, who had always wanted a large, or giant breed, was thinking about an Irish Wolfhound. She’d planned to go and look at a puppy available in Northallerton, but it seemed fate had other ideas!

Kay had been home one lunchtime to let Martha out, something she doesn’t normally do, and as she was coming back to work she literally bumped into a couple walking what she thought were two adolescent Wolfhounds. On speaking to them she discovered that they were actually Scottish Deerhounds, a breed that is often mistaken for young Wolfhounds as it’s incredibly rare; there are fewer than 300 puppies registered with The Kennel Club each year.

Harris the Scottish Deerhound in a field at sunset

For Kay, it was love at first sight and she set out on a mission to find out more about them but, despite looking at both the Champdogs and The Kennel Club websites, there wasn’t a lot of information out there and when she did eventually find a puppy, he’d already been rehomed.

She finally heard about a bitch who was pregnant just up the road in Catterick, so she and Giles went to meet the breeder and her SIX Deerhounds. Meeting these “lazy, lovable, clumsy idiots” convinced Kay that this was the breed for her, and the adorable Harris was born the following November and I think it’s safe to say that life hasn’t been the same since!

A Deerhound puppy is a whole new world for Kay; having never had a puppy before she wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turns out a Deerhound puppy is just like any other puppy; just on a much bigger scale.

She’s still learning about this fantastic breed; he chews everything but has perfected his ‘sorry’ face and even puts himself in time out on his bed. Also, as a gazehound he hunts by sight, not smell, so one of his biggest challenges has been to learn not to chase the cats; although anyone who has ever owned a cat will know that they are perfectly capable of letting him know when he’s stepped out of line!

Harris the Scottish Deerhound chewing on a piece of wood

Deerhounds have a lovely nature; they’re calm, quite lazy and not aggressive at all, they also get on well with other dogs. Harris and Martha are inseparable and, despite his tendency to get a bit giddy and fall over his very large feet, he’s also made friends with the big dogs in the park which include a Rhodesian Ridgeback, two German Shepherds, a massive Pointer and a Greyhound.

Scottish Deerhounds can also be found on the big screen! Harry Potter fans might remember a scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Sirius Black escorts Harry to Kings Cross station in the form of his Animagus a big black dog named Padfoot. Padfoot was played by a Deerhound named Macleod, or to give him his full title – Champion Kilbourne Macleod, who was also Best Puppy at Crufts in 2005.

A typical day with Harris starts with a walk in the morning, another at lunchtime, and finally a walk with Martha in the evening, for around half an hour each time. Walks need to be limited because of Harris’ size, as he’s at more risk of damaging his ligaments, but it sounds like Harris is perfectly happy with this arrangement and can take or leave a walk; he never pesters.

Harris sitting outside in the snow

He needs special, large breed puppy food, and because he’s so large he can be prone to colic, so he can’t be fed within an hour on either side of doing exercise. He also has big feet and long legs, not a great combination when it comes to coordination, and slippery floors are a no-no, as are stairs! He has a tendency to collect things; including socks, wellies and boots, and needs to learn not to chase cats, but everyone he meets becomes his new best friend and all in all he sounds like a very chilled, albeit giant, addition to Kay’s household.

He even managed to charm everybody here at The Insurance Emporium one day last month, when Kay brought him into the office. Word soon got around that we had a handsome visitor in the office, and there was no shortage of people for him to flirt with.

Harris sitting in the office with a lanyard round his neck

As you can see from the photos, he was perfectly behaved, and we are currently in negotiations to find him a part-time role here as our Wellbeing Woof. We think you’ll agree that the lanyard certainly suits him.

So, what advice would Kay give to anyone thinking of getting a larger breed of puppy? Because of their size, research is vital; larger breeds can be more fragile and need to be treated differently when it comes to feeding and exercise, but Kay would definitely recommend this rare breed of dog and wouldn’t be without him. She’s hoping to get a female in the next couple of years so that they can breed them. Deerhounds have a reputation for not being very bright, but as Kay says “you wouldn’t want anything that size to be smart now, would you?!”

Here at The Insurance Emporium, we really do love our furry friends, and there are lots of proven benefits of having a dog. If you already have a dog or reading about Harris has inspired you to think about maybe getting one of your own, you might want to take a look at our dog insurance; there are five different policy types to get you started, which you can add to with a range of optional benefits, depending on your needs, and if your beloved pooch is a bit older, we have senior dog insurance too for the over-8s. Take a look at our website for more info.

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