First there was Twiggy. Then came Linda Evangelista and later we had Naomi Campbell, but all these models really just laid the groundwork for what was to follow. A true star captured the nation when she emerged in the Irish midlands five years ago, and she was magic. Literally, that was her name; Magic, the Education Dog!
Magic was the first Education dog to grace the midlands and she became an instant star. As she toured from school to library to community centre, children and adults alike would call her name. Many would queue to meet her (walk over slowly, ask her owner, wait until they were sniffed and give her a rub under her chin, just where she likes), and many others would collect her merchandise. Oh yes, she had merchandise. A sticker with her lovely face, a colouring sheet with her autograph (printed because she was a busy girl) and even a fridge magnet (though this she begrudgingly shared with the rest of her supergroup, the Mighty Madraí).
A promo shot of Magic from her early career
Although some called her difficult (she never got out of bed for less than 2 doggy treats), she refuted this, saying that it is a well-known fact that greyhounds and lurchers are lazy dogs, and that this was to be expected. She was a trail blazer in many ways becoming the first lurcher education dog, paving the way for Piper who shortly followed. Yet, five years after her electrifying debut, Magic has stunned the world by announcing her retirement. We caught up with the starlet in her new home in county Meath for an exclusive interview.
When we arrived she was asleep and gently snoring, so we didn’t disturb her, naturally, but she soon woke up, yawned, and answered our questions. Enjoy!
Hi Magic, Congratulations on your retirement, and on your years of service to Dog Trust. How do you feel about stepping down from your role?
There comes a time in every dog’s life when they realise that the lure of a bed is greater than the lure of the crowd. It has been my privilege to educate so many wonderful children over the years, but I have done my duty and now…honestly, I just want to stay in bed all day.
I will miss it, but I’m 10 years of age now, 70 in dog years! I think I deserve some me time.
Despite some greying around the muzzle, Magic has lost none of the grace that made her such a good education dog
Can you tell us some highlights from your distinguished career?
Where to begin. My first few schools were interesting. I wanted to explore the classrooms but Paul (my owner and the midlands Education and Community Officer) kept me on a lead but I did manage to stick my rather elongated nose in a few of schoolbags. I’m not sure Paul was overly happy about that though. But over time I learnt that mostly, my job involved sitting by his side and looking pretty. My favourite time of year was always the summer when I got to visit different libraries across the midlands.
You’ve built quite the fanbase over the years. Have you received any fanmail or fan art of particular note?
Oh yes, I’ve received letters, cards, drawings, poems. My videos will still remain on the Learnwithdogstrust.ie page though, so I’m hopeful these won’t stop altogether.
What memories of your time as an education dog stand out?
Once we teamed up with an animal warden who brought a goat into class. That was interesting, but if I’m honest I wouldn’t work with goats again. None of the children paid me nearly as much attention that day! Then there was the time Paul and I went to the Leitrim Animal Welfare and Pony trekking camp where I met plenty of other dogs and saw a few ponies. They were all ok, but I’m more of a people dog to be honest. The thing I’ll miss most is when I would visit a school for the second time. All the children would remember me, and call my name, but none of them had a clue who Paul was. Let’s face it, we all know who the side kick is!
You’ve been referred to as lazy more than once over the years. Do you have anything to say about that?
It’s a lurcher’s prerogative to be lazy. In fact, I quite dislike that word, I prefer to consider myself an energy conservationist. But I do like to run too you know, I’m not totally over the hill. Back when I started my role, Paul would usually take me for a big walk before class, but in recent year the walk became shorter and these days I prefer little strolls, or a very short game of fetch. Yawn. Is this interview nearly over?
Never lazy, insead; resting passionate, dream catcher or snoozing advocate
We’re nearly finished Magic, just a few more questions. You are famously one of the members of The Mighty Madraí. Will you retain this position after your retirement, or will you be replaced?
Replaced? How dare you, I am irreplaceable. All of us are. Nope, the Mighty Madraí won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
So where does this leave Paul. Will he get a new dog, or visit schools without one?
Paul will be bringing a teddy dog with him from now on. I’ve had a few cuddles and wrestles with him, and he seems alright. I’m sure the kids will love Paul’s workshops just as much without me.
Now that she is retiring, she hopes the paps will leave her be...
And now that you are retired, how will you spend your days?
At this point Magic drifted off to sleep, and as we all know, its best to leave a snoozing dog alone.
But before we go, we have a little tribute to Magic from her owner, Paul.
Ah Magic, it will be lonely travelling the midlands without you. There will be some advantages. I will now be able to go to the toilet on my own, I will be able to stop off for lunches when I’m on the road, and I won’t have to bring poo bags with me on every journey, but putting that aside, it’s the end of an era and I’ll miss you a lot.
You’ve brought so much joy to hundreds (if not thousands) of children and adults all over the country. You’re a very special dog, and I hope you have a long and lazy retirement xxx