Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton is known for her love of animals – be it on the farm or in her own home. While talking to Helen, who is currently working with Smart Energy GB to promote greener energy in our homes, we asked about her one true love – dogs.
The former Blue Peter host has two dogs of her own — a fluffy crossbreed named Barney (a former stray who appeared on the popular children's show) and a beautiful Labrador called Spiderman. Speaking about the joy dogs bring her, Helen says she finds them deeply humbling.
"They always give me purpose. I was brought up with animals, from cows to sheep and dogs," Helen tells CL. "For me, they're just really levelling and humbling. They're brilliant company. You can be in a bad mood and they will still come to cuddle you. People ask if I like animals and I say, 'of course, I like breathing air'.
"I got Barney when I moved to London because I really struggled to settle. I was a country girl living in London at the age of 24 for the first time ever. My friends always joke that I like dogs more than a lot of people, but that is true!"
The presenter, who is currently renovating her old Yorkshire cottage, grew up in the beautiful outskirts of Cumbria. She's certainly no stranger to countryside living, spending much of her childhood helping her father on their family farm. "We were really lucky. My dad went to work at 4am every morning, but if we wanted to go and see him we would just walk down the yard," she tells us.
"My favourite time was silage season. It was really exciting and hectic as you've got to get all the grass in ready for the winter feed. It's was all hands-on-deck. You'd always have people on the farm who were normally never there. I loved watching my dad on the tractor. I always had a seat next to him."
More recently, her love for farming life has made its way into Helen's career while she's been filming Channel 5's This Week On The Farm. Recalling the funniest moments on the show, it's no surprise that they all involve naughty animals.
"We spend so much time in the barns that whenever I speak, Emma the cow always starts mooing and heckling. It's become a bit of a joke. Our record is 15 takes because Emma makes such a loud noise," Helen tells Country Living.
"There's also a goat called Primrose who, for some reason, just always wants to sit on my head. That's why I love those environments because you'll never know what will happen."
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