(No animals were harmed in the making of this interview recording but some did talk, and quite fluently.)
Social distancing has brought on quite a few new intricacies for everyone. While quarentinining with just Welly and his parents, Sarah Darling and James, something neither of us expected was the overwhelming excitement when Welly saw me (the first back-porch visitor Sarah and James had since this stay at home order began). I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget that moment! Welly was seriously saying in his whining, barking and jumping with joy, “Other humans!!!!” Welly didn’t leave my side then ENTIRE rest of the few hours we spent together.
“HIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!! I’m Welly! Wellington for short. Welcome to this interview all about me! I am the very ethereal and talented singer, Sarah Darling’s, 8 month old puppy. I really like to smile. A lot. I really like to give kisses. A lot. I really like YOU. A lot. Yup. That’s really me in a nut-shell, or maybe let’s call it a dog-biscuit. That’s me in a box of dog biscuits.”
Welly: “I was brought home to Sarah Darling’s home just before this stay-at-home situation happened. So, I didn’t really know any other humans besides my parents, Sarah and James, until my mom’s best friend, Sara Kauss, came over to do this interview of me and take my picture with her pink-sparkly camera. You guys. I learned there were OTHER PEOPLE in the world! In that moment, Sara Kauss definitely was the recipient of ALL of my love. In fact, that night I had to decide who I loved more, my parents or Sara Kauss. Turns out of course, I do love my parents the most, but it was such an amazing realization that there are other humans that love me too.”
What was the inspiration for a Sheepadoodle?
Sarah Darling: “I’ve had a pinterest board full of dogs like Welly for years now! I always knew I wanted a Sheepadoodle. They are part English like James and have a very sweet temperament. Not to mention really fluffy and I love fluffy things.”
Sarah and Welly, what was it like when you first met?
Welly: “I was basically created just for Sarah Darling and her husband, James. There’s nothing else to it. Immediately when Sarah Darling picked me up from my breeder in Clarksville, I knew I had found that family that you always hear about in the movies. That true love family that has been waiting for you to love them your entire life. At eight weeks old, I knew so much about love already. Sarah and James are my parents and they were pawfectly picked for me. I remember that drive home so well. My mom was wearing a cuddly rainbow sweater and I snuggled her all the way home. Frankly, I haven’t stopped snuggling her since. I immediately decided that my new mom needed lots of snuggles so my life’s mission is to listen to my dad, James, when he tells me how to be a good dog and to snuggle my mom, Sarah, until she gets up to walk away, then stalk her until she sits down again so I can smother her completely with kisses.”
You’ve mentioned how intense Welly snuggles are. Tell me about those.
Sarah Darling: “Welly especially loves morning snuggles. If he sees even one eye open, he’s basically laying on my head and kissing my face until I fully wake up and relentlessly won’t stop. He’s one of the most affectionate, smiley dogs I’ve ever met! I’m just glad he picked me! I get mini doses of teddy bear snuggles pretty much all day.”
Welly: “That has basically been my days since Sarah and James brought me home. Wake up. Snuggles. Breakfast. Snuggles. Walk. Snuggles. Kisses. Snuggles. Nap. Snuggles. It’s a pretty basic routine, you see. I was once told that I should apply for the Charmin Toilet Paper commercial because of how snuggly I am. Also, I like to get ahold of a roll of toilet paper and make it explode into little pieces all over the house! That’s fun.”
Welly, what do you think of Sarah Darling’s Campfire Sessions songs?
Welly: “I really like the song Cowboy Take Me Away by Sarah Darling. The lyric video she just posted has really pretty butterflies and neat drawings in it. I love it even though it is the opposite of my energy level. It’s really peaceful. I really love chasing butterflies, and sometimes I almost knock my mom over. Here’s what I don’t quite understand… what’s a Cowboy? Is it like a hamster-dog? I know I’m just a puppy with a lot to learn, but I’ve been watching a lot of National Geographic with Sarah Darling on TV during this quarantine time and I have not noticed a cow that looks like a boy or a boy that looks like a cow. One time I did see a really small dog that could have been a hamster, though. It was smaller than RaeLynn’s Chihuahua, Dolly. Oh! Maybe it’s like me, a blend of cow and boy. Like I’m a Sheepadoodle. I’m still confused.”
Sarah Darling: “These campfire sessions mean so much to me because they are songs that really influenced me in country music growing up. Most of them I use to cover at the Iowa State Fair before I ever moved to Nashville! I love showing this side of me and sharing my versions of songs you probably know very well. Cowboy Take Me Away is my most recent release from the project, and the timing couldn’t be more serendipitous. Not only are we all wishing we could travel, but I miss where I grew up. Last year was such a whirlwind of touring and having a number 1 album in the UK with Wonderland, It’s so great to follow up all of that to a really peaceful project. That’s the fun in music, getting to evolve and try things. I had no idea how much joy the campfire sessions would bring in our uncertain times. The icing on my cake was meeting my best friend, Wellington. He’s gotten me through so much the last several months! The fact that he lets me snuggle him like a real life teddy bear has made my life.”
What are a few things that you think are similar between you and Welly?
Sarah Darling: “We both are fuzzy! I wear so many fuzzy sweaters. We both love adventures and hugs, and we also both LOVE peanut butter!!! We also both have very pink tongues.”
Welly: “I mentioned before how Sarah Darling has this fuzzy rainbow sweater that she wore when we first met. Well, I really have a fondness for fuzzy sweaters. I like to wear them. Actually, I am a fuzzy sweater and my mom likes to wear them, too. I have noticed that Sarah likes to dress a lot more in black and white to look like me, too.
Sarah also likes getting up at 6am with me! I know this because of her reaction when I jump on her face as soon as the sunrises! She just squeals with excitement and wants to play, I can tell! She likes to play this game where she pushes me off the bed and I jump back on and give her kisses, lay on her head, then she pushes me off the bed again, and I jump back on! I am so glad Sarah is such a morning person.”
Sarah Darling: “That is not exactly the way that I view Welly’s morning wakeup routine, but I do love our morning snuggle sessions, even if they are very early!”
Sarah, you are such a fashionista, how has Welly added to your accessorizing?
Sarah Darling: “He’s literally my favorite fashion accessory! I have started to dress like him! Nothing is more classic than black & white! Hopefully he’s not too embarrassed of his mom.”
TikTok is so fun. Tell me about your adventures on TikTok
Sarah Darling: “TikTok is so new for me! Welly was my prime subject at the beginning. Now it’s really escalated to very silly baking videos of mini macarons and dance videos! Welly is still my favorite TikTok partner in crime.”
Welly: “Here’s the thing with TikTok. It’s really all about making people and dogs smile. If you watch a TikTok video, it’s never serious, it’s always FUN! And thats ALL I do. I was created to smile and make humans smile.”
Tell me about your Baking Live videos!
Sarah Darling: “Every Thursday at 4pm central I bake live with my fans on Instagram! This was initially started to bring a little sunshine at home for anyone in isolation. Now it’s become something I really look forward to each week! You never know what I’m going to whisk up or what size it might be! I’m into mini baking at the moment!
Welly: “I really like Baking Live with Sarah Darling, and here’s why. Sarah is such a good singer, and sometimes when she’s baking live she plays her Spotify playlist of Sarah Darling songs in the background. Also, sometimes little droplets of sugar hit the floor so all my puppy senses are in overdrive! Great music for my floppy ears, and sugary sweetness for my pink tongue. Sara Kauss, do you think that the people on the other side of the phone have puppies enjoying the little drops of baking creations too?”
Speaking of music Welly, which of Sarah Darling’s songs would you have written?
Welly: “I really think that Sarah Darling and I were supposed to meet, like there was a plan a long time ago that I would be hers and James’ pup. Because of that, I would’ve written Anchor because Sarah Darling sings about how if we hadn’t met, where would we be today?”
Sarah, tell us about your new music and upcoming projects!
Sarah Darling: “I’m so looking forward to going into the studio in August to record a few new tunes. This was supposed to happen in March, but it got delayed. I believe everything has a purpose, and timing always works as it should! I’m really looking forward to this happening and what it will feel like. I’m also working on some secret cooking things and still writing so many songs. It’s all about being creative as much as I can and putting beauty into the world.”
You love traveling. Will Welly go with you?
Welly: “See, here’s the thing, Sara. I was made for Sarah Darling and James as a lifelong companion. That means I get to do EVERYTHING with my people! I get to go hiking, visit family in Iowa with the Darling family, and maybe one day I’ll even get to go to London to visit James family.”
Does Welly have a British Accent?
Sarah Darling: “James likes to believe he does, but I think he might be midwestern! We still want to find a field of sheep one day for Welly to herd. “Welly has definitely enriched my life beyond measure and I’m grateful for him.”