Cute as F**k is a series that introduces some of the coolest pets in Aotearoa (and their owners aren't bad either).
Jiali Yang is the PR & marketing manager at Karen Walker, and the owner of Ari, an 11-month Pomeranian.
“He’s the little dog who thinks he can. He’s a funny little creature; so spirited, full of joy, always alert, and very, very inquisitive.
“Poms are big dogs in tiny bodies and they often don’t seem to realise their stature. Ari tends to run up to the biggest dogs at our local park, a little too excitedly.
“He knows exactly how to make us humans feel oh-so-important and listened to. He tilts his head so well, smiling up at you with his full attention, that it feels like what you’re saying is the most important, profound thing he must not miss a word of. And he knows he looks cute doing so.
“We brought him home last October at eight weeks old. I’d been wanting a Pom for eight years, so when we moved into our own home I was more than ready.
“We chose our breeder, Trish, as she health tests all her dogs and shows and judges throughout New Zealand. Finally, after almost a year on her waitlist we got one of only a few poms she produced last year.
“He’s our first dog. Neither Mark [my partner] or I grew up with them - so it’s been really great having the support of a breeder we can ask for advice on anything. I was terrified of dogs until I was 11; for some reason I was the child the scariest ones seemed to chase.
“Ari is a Hebrew name that means lion, which we thought would suit his Simba-like mane. When asked, we do jokingly admit we were inspired by Ari Gold on Entourage, a namesake he actually does share some traits with – loud and proud, loyal, fierce and relentless.
“As our self-appointed Head of Security, and weighing an intimidating 2kg, Ari’s always on watch, ready to alert the entire cul-de-sac to any car/biker/jogger/postman that comes up the street. He won’t stand down until he’s made the ‘intruder’ pass by. We’re still working on ‘thank you, quiet now’.
“We’re very lucky that Ari can come to work with me and that the office puts up with how ‘vocal’ he is. He especially loves it as Laika, Karen’s Australian Labradoodle, is there too and he’s a bit obsessed with her.
“A typical day at work for Ari:
10am – Arrive at the office and greeted by Laika bounding down the stairs for playtime.
12pm – With a great play session complete it’s time for naps, snacks, cuddles with colleagues,
meeting stylists and greeting guests.
2pm – Lunch followed by a walk around the block
3 – 6pm – More naps and more snacks with a quick break at 3.30pm to bark at the DHL van and finally, more cuddles as colleagues leave for the day.
I think Karen would say he fulfils his job description pretty well.
“At Karen Walker, we work with SPCA and to me their staff are the ultimate dog people; I have so much respect for what they do and how passionate and relentless they are in protecting and advocating for animals. Though anyone who appreciates dogs can be a dog person!
“The best thing about having a dog is the unconditional love and cuddles on tap. Lockdown and all the uncertainty at the time was horrible but the silver lining was being home with my puppy all day.
“The worst thing is knowing that they live much shorter lives than us. When this thought does creep up I try use it as a reminder to focus on the now and live every moment fully.”