Doggos: Willie, 4 and Trigger, 1. Breed: English Toy Terriers
Willie and Trigger in three words:
Willie: Handsome AF, ladies man.
Trigger: Trouble! Class Clown.
Mel and Matt are the metal-music loving, vintage-appreciating partners in crime behind designer dog denim label, PetHaus. Both New Zealand natives and all-round bloody lovely people, these rockers-come-denim-donners have made it their mission to earn dogs uber street cred through bad-ass pet gear.
We spent an afternoon hanging out at PetHaus HQ to see what the pack gets up to when they’re not busy taking over the doggo fashion world.
And if there’s one thing we learnt, this is one dog squad that moves to the beat of their own drum.
A Doggo Denim Label Begins
Metal music. Vintage denim. Dogs. It’s a pretty eclectic combo, but one that has proven to work mighty fine for Mel and Matt throughout their 5-year relationship.
“We have a shared passion for music and a vintage aesthetic, Matt is a total metal head with a huge record collection and I need another house to store all my vintage denim!”
Before signing up to become fully-fledged fur parents, they put a great deal of time into researching dog breeds, both feeling strongly that a dog is a lifetime commitment.
“As first time dog owners, we wanted to be sure the dog’s personality would gel with ours and our work environments. So when we stumbled across English Toy Terriers on Google, we new we’d found our match! Then we had to wait a whole painful year for a litter to be born, and for Willie to arrive.”
The story of PetHaus began on a chilly Melbourne day soon after Willie came along.
Being a small and shaky breed, Mel realised Willie would need a jacket to take on Melbourne’s temperamental weather. Matt was keen on the idea, but only under two non-negotiable conditions:
1. the jacket couldn’t be bought from a mainstream store.
2. said jacket MUST be cool.
Their solution combined Matt’s background as a heavy-metal musician, with Mel’s 25-year career in the fashion industry: a small, handmade denim battle vest complete with metal band patches that matched their own.
The jacket was such a hit on the streets of Melbourne that it wasn’t long before Mel and Matt were making them for dogs around the world.
Trouble = 2 Toy Terriers
Fast forward to the present and the PetHaus pack is now a gang of 4, with cheeky trouble-maker, Trigger, having joined the crew a year ago. While the two boys get along great guns, Mel tells us that Willie and Trigger’s personalities are totally different.
“Willie is a lover at heart and a real ladies man, much like a young Glenn Danzig. He knows how to work a room for treats or cuddles, and likes to dance on two paws – he’s a total show pony!”
Trigger, on the other hand, is currently in the process of learning about the world by first eating it. A four-legged reincarnation of controversial punk artist GG Allin, Trigger seems drawn to trouble. But it’s always entertaining.
“Trigger is a real terror but a total comedian. He eats everything, including a brick from the side of our house and the slate tiles in our kitchen. We call him our happy guy, he’s always smiling.”
On Burgers, Beaches + Being Bad-Ass
An average day for Willie and Trigger involves earning their keep as official PetHaus models, as well as kicking about with Mel at their trendy home office digs in Fitzroy. Having a pawrent that works from home has got to be every dog’s dream, and the boys don’t seem to be taking a single minute for granted.
“I take the boys to the park for an hour in the mornings, then back to the office where they spend the day bringing me toys, yelling at delivery drivers who dare to come to the door, and chasing our very patient cat, Diego, up and down the hall.”
On weekends, when Willie and Trigger aren’t causing mayhem at home, the PetHaus pack can be found along Smith St with a beer and burger in hand. Frequent outdoor adventurers, one of their favourite dog walks is Yarra Bend park, where the boys strut their rebel-rocker style.
On the odd occasion however, some adventures don’t go quite as planned.
“We like to take the dogs to the nudie beach where there’s no kids and you can have them off leash all year round. One day we went along with a friend for some sun and sand. Matt and I decided to go out for a swim and left our friend, who was sunbaking in the nude, to mind Willie on the beach.
We were out in the water when we saw a big Husky running along the shore. All of a sudden, Willie decides to take off after the Husky, with our naked friend frantically running behind him, past all the other nudist’s yelling ‘Willie! Willie!’
It was pretty much the funniest sight I ever saw.”
The Country Calls
Having the boys has taught Mel and Matt much about patience, love and loyalty. They’ve also acquired a well-rounded knowledge of which pubs in Melbourne aren’t in fact dog-friendly (“what do you mean, no dogs?!”).
Inspired by their bond with their rebel terrier two-some, Mel and Matt’s ultimate dream is a reflection of the kind of people they are; humble, kind and total rockstars.
“We just wanna make the coolest dog gear out there, and eventually move to the country to have all the dogs.”
So look out country folk of Australia, there’s a bad-ass canine crew coming your way.
Check out the PetHaus range of designer doggo denim gear at https://pethaus.com.au/.
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