Joey the rescue pooch attracts ‘poodle paparazzi’ with his rainbow ‘furstyles’

·5-min read
Joey’s many furstyles (RSA Photography/PA Real Life)
Joey’s many furstyles (RSA Photography/PA Real Life)

A dog groomer who devotes up to eight hours over the week transforming her rescue pooch into anything from a bumble bee to a zebra or even a glow-in-the-dark skeleton says his fabulous furstyles mean he now has his very own “poodle paparazzi.”

A seasoned dog owner, when Katie Darcey, 25, first adopted toy poodle Joey, five, from her local rescue in November 2018,  she realised he loved people and, during the first 2020 Covid lockdown, dyed his fur like a rainbow in support of the NHS.

A natural show-off, Joey laps up the attention both during the makeover, using dog-friendly fur dye, and from admirers when he is out, who Katie says go into a fussing frenzy when they spot him.

Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)
Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)

Katie, who lives in Farnborough, Hampshire, with her boyfriend electrician Jamie Coates, 26, Joey and springer spaniel, Honey, five, said: “People lose their minds a bit when they see him!

“Some people can’t believe their eyes and just want to play with him and take pictures.

“He always has his poodle paparazzi following him about and snapping photos.”

Joey’s many furstyles (RSA Photography/PA Real Life)
Joey’s many furstyles (RSA Photography/PA Real Life)

She said: “Some people don’t agree with dyeing his fur and have even accused me of animal cruelty, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I absolutely love animals and I haven’t done this with any of my other dogs, because it wouldn’t suit their personalities, as they would be overwhelmed by the attention.”

Katie swears that sporting a spectacular furstyle has made her proud poodle happier.

Jamie and Katie (Collect/PA Real Life)
Jamie and Katie (Collect/PA Real Life)

She said: “Joey wants people to play with him all the time. He was quite sad when he didn’t have cool fur, because fewer people would come and  fuss him.

“When the first lockdown happened, we turned him into a rainbow and from then onwards his character just came out.

“He absolutely loved it. He loved people coming up to him. It was just so rewarding and we’ve not looked back.”

Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)
Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)

In the past two years, Joey has sported more than 16 different furstyles, with everything from watermelon patterns to colours like Flump marshmallow sweets and fluorescent designs with a brightly coloured tail.

And Katie, who spends so much time grooming her “punk pooch” that her boyfriend “almost feels like a widower,” says she loves getting creative and transforming Joey into something totally unexpected.

She said: “Jamie thinks I’m completely bonkers, but he is happy that I’m happy. He almost feels like a widower, as I barely ever see him. I’m always in the garage working on the next design!”

Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)
Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)

Katie added: “As I’m a dog groomer, I’ve always been aware of creative grooming and I always wanted to get into it and learn how to do it.

“I try to come up with designs that no one has done before, or that will suit my dog’s personality.

“I absolutely love doing it. It really makes me think creatively about things that will suit Joey and the kind of dog he is.”

Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)
Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)

And her partner is not the only person to think she has gone barking mad at times.

Her family also wondered if her dog painting was some kind of “quarter life crisis,” according to Katie.

She said: “When I first started doing this everyone thought I was completely mad, and even my family thought I was losing it. But they can see now why I do it, as Joey loves it and I’m passionate about it.”

Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)
Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)

Some of the more intricate designs, like the glow-in-the-dark fluorescent green skeleton that Joey wore for Halloween last year, have taken more than eight hours over the course of a week to complete.

But Katie says it is all worthwhile when she sees the finished result and Joey excitedly wagging his tail when he is approached by the poodle paparazzi in the local park.

She said: “The glow in the dark skeleton was particularly good.”

Jamie with Joey and Honey (Collect/PA Real Life)
Jamie with Joey and Honey (Collect/PA Real Life)

Katie added: “The average dog groom takes about two hours, so I never make Joey sit for longer than that in a single session, so that he is comfortable.

“The skeleton took eight hours, so I did it in stages over the entire week.

“I just apply each colour. It’s like doing it to a human head and it’s all pet safe.”

Joey’s many furstyles (RSA Photography/PA Real Life)
Joey’s many furstyles (RSA Photography/PA Real Life)

Katie, who works by shaving a design into a dog’s coat and applying animal safe dye and even nail polish, first tried some creative grooming in August 2016 on her springer spaniel Summer, who has since sadly passed away.

But she says her skills have improved considerably and Joey is also a far better model.

She said: “I am my own worst critic, so when I look back at Joey’s rainbow pictures now, I just see the mistakes I made.”

Joey’s many furstyles (RSA Photography/PA Real Life)
Joey’s many furstyles (RSA Photography/PA Real Life)

Katie added: “But I’ve been improving so much, even if I’m just winging it. I try to keep him colourful and change it up. He’s got watermelons on right now.

“One of my absolute favourites, as it was a bit more intricate, was the bumblebee, as I enjoyed growing his hair out and getting the shapes and colours in.”

“The zebra was one of my maddest ideas. After I shaved off the bumble bee, I decided to turn him into a zebra and it just looked a bit crazy.”

Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)
Joey has had 16 different hairstyles (Collect/PA Real Life)

But while his canine couture has mostly attracted belly rubs and playful pats, Katie has also received some abuse online.

She said: “I think it’s so important that people know that creative grooming is safe. There is no danger to the dog if you’ve used the right products and find a professional to do it for you.

“I wish it was more accepted, because you can really showcase your dog’s personality with these different styles and if it makes them happy why shouldn’t we do it?”

Katie and Joey (Collect/PA Real Life)
Katie and Joey (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “I am a dog groomer and a dog lover and I’d never do anything to hurt my dogs.

“Joey is one of a kind. He’s the funniest, craziest dog. But he’s also the best companion you could ever ask for.

“And he loves all the attention he gets for being the coolest pooch in the park.”

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