Benn Wood meets up with Chris Turner (and Lili and Billy) to talk about whippets, dog fights and unconditional happiness.



Benn Wood meets up with Chris, Lili and Billy to talk about whippets, dog fights and unconditional happiness

01 What’s your Name? And your dog’s?
Chris Turner and Billy (the blue) and Lili (the white and brindle)

02 What did you want to be when you grew up?
Rich – when I was really young I wanted to be an accountant because my aunty was one and she had a cool house, then I  wanted to be a tattoo artist and then a musician.

03 What made you get a dog?
I’ve always had dogs since I was young so when I moved to Melbourne from Perth I had to get one. This accounts for Lili – and my life wouldn’t be the same without her. Now Billy we got to keep Lili company and to give my girlfriend Anita a trial run at being a mum.

04 Why whippets?  
Actually when I moved over to Melbourne I moved into a three storey townhouse so it meant the big dogs I had always owned wouldn’t be appropriate. I considered a dachshund until I realised the stairs would make them into a slinky. So I chose a whippet as I heard they slept a lot each day and generally did their own thing. They don’t smell, they barely lose hair, they don’t need constant attention and they have a good temperament so I’m really happy I got one by chance. And of course one good whippet deserves another so now we have Billy.

05 Do Billy and Lili do any tricks?  
The only tricks they seem to pull off is somehow being able to get into our bed in the middle of the night without waking us up and making themselves very cosy. Whippets are pretty notorious for being hard/impossible to train fully due to them being a sight hound and their strong personalities.

06 Dog fights – good or bad?  
Pretty much the thing that upsets me the most in life is people profiting by mistreating animals. It just shows a complete lack of compassion, especially as the dogs are just reacting to their situation and the circumstances leading to it. I feel that anyone who organises or participates in dog fighting rings should be forced to assist animals for the rest of their life  and contribute a percentage of their wages to animal welfare groups so that they might think twice about the ‘quick money’. Obviously the people participating in it come from a variety of backgrounds  and compete for different reasons so my answer is obviously a very brief address to a very large issue.

07 What would you sell your soul for?  
This answer assumes I haven’t already sold it. The only thing I would sell my soul for would be an exchange for true, unconditional, everlasting happiness for myself and all those I care about – including the dogs. In this state I’m sure I won’t care too much about the old soul, I’d be too busy being happy.

08 Would you try everything once?  
No – it is not that I am risk averse, nor introverted it is just there are things I know already that I don’t need to try. For example, eating poison, getting run over, being shot or marrying a gorilla. I would like to think that I will get a chance to try most things I want to if I keep living life the way I do.

09 Is a little knowledge a dangerous thing?
I would say that this is the one saying that struck true with me as I was growing up and definitely as I get older. It’s getting more and more typical of people to simply assume, or to read a small amount about a subject and profess to be proficient in all areas. People feel empowered to demand respect without putting in the hard work and it invariably backfires. I try to learn as much as possible and believe that it is a never ending journey.

10 What’s Next?
If I knew I wouldn’t be really living life properly. Hopefully more good times, adventures, riches and everything else that leads to great memories.

All images by Benn Wood
To check Benn’s work, visit his awesome site

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In this issue we challenge stereotypes, big and small. Klaus Dyba’s portraits of hairless dogs embrace the bald and the beautiful, Winnie Au’s fashion-inspired photos take the shame out of the cone, and the stellar lineup in Really Good Dog Photography stir us well away from the obvious fluff. We marvel at artists who can breath life into hounds on paper, screen and space. We travel to the heart of Australia, where dogs can easily become a hungry croc’s lunch. We fall in love with the ultimate four-legged bad-asses (we are looking at you, Brian Griffin) and we hang with farm dogs and their hip humans in the rolling hills of the Hudson Valley. All this, and more, inside the covers.


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