Dog Days

Andrew Cotter

21 September 2022
Andrew Cotter book cover 'Dog Days'. Andrew is standing against a blue wooden wall, one foot up. His labrador dogs are on either side looking towards him.
Andrew Cotter standing against a blue wooden wall.

BBC sports commentator Andrew Cotter became a lock-down hero when he began posting videos of his Labradors, Olive and Mabel. The videos, with their delightful commentary, earned more than 50 million views. We asked Andrew a few questions ahead of his appearance at the festival where he will discuss his new book, Dog Days.

Were you surprised at the huge level of interest in your videos?

Yes, absolutely I was. Although, with hindsight, the situation was the perfect breeding ground for something like that to take off - everybody was at home, forced online and looking for something to make them laugh. Add dogs as the final ingredient and that was that.

What are Olive and Mabel’s most endearing qualities?

Their most endearing qualities are a combination of love and relentless, blind optimism. Plus a total trust in their humans. Which is very possibly a mistake.

Has fame gone to their heads?

No, fame hasn’t changed them one bit - any extra attention on walks or appearing on stage, they clearly believe they simply deserve it. But really they’re entirely unaware of anything which goes on outside of their world of sleep, eat, walk, repeat. I envy them.

Was lockdown in any way a positive for someone who travels so much for their work?

In a way it was, because it means leaving the dogs for long stretches of time, which neither they nor I enjoy. But I do love the work. It’s just that I also enjoyed the strange diversion I have taken into an alternative career as writer and comedy dog film-maker.

What’s your favourite book about a dog and why?

Probably the only other book I have read about a dog, which was The Incredible Journey - I remember reading it as a child after watching the Disney film. Now, looking back I can appreciate it even more because it was written by a Scottish/Canadian author (Sheila Burnford) and also because one of the two dogs was a Labrador (and called Luath, which was the name of Robert Burns beloved dog). It just tugs at your heartstrings as a depiction of the faithfulness of pets. I doubt the cat would really have got involved in the whole endeavour though.