Me and My Pet - Tracey Hebron and Roux

Tracey and Roux (aka ‘diva dog’) enjoying a day out

Tracey and Roux (aka ‘diva dog’) enjoying a day out - Credit: Archant

Tracey Hebron, a visitor services assistant at Barnsley Museums, on how she muggles through with her puggle.

The look of love were assuming Roux is looking at Tracey, but she gets that same gleeful glint when

The look of love were assuming Roux is looking at Tracey, but she gets that same gleeful glint when she spots a sausage, so who knows - Credit: Archant

My puggle, Roux, is five years old. She has been my best friend and companion for the last three years. My dad spotted her on the RSPCA website and it was love at first sight.

When she arrived, she had been involved in an accident that had left her recovering from an injury; this resulted in her having to wear a coat until all was healed. The coat soon came off though and she made herself at home.

Like many good dog owners, I had strict intentions from the start: no dogs on the furniture, no dogs upstairs. But rules are meant to be broken – and they soon were where Roux was concerned. It is no surprise to anyone who knows us that she now sleeps on the bed with me and is the boss of the entire house.

In fact, her attention-seeking, stubborn and feisty character has led to my sister-in-law affectionately calling her a diva dog, a nickname that has stuck.

My little diva dog is also caring and affectionate and, despite being independent, loves to stay by my side. Over time, we have developed a strong bond which has helped me greatly in my personal life. I first began experiencing bouts of anxiety and depression as a teenager, something I kept quiet about until recently. While at first it would come and go, anxiety eventually became a constant presence in my life.

Managing anxiety is sometimes a struggle and different things work for different people. Cognitive behaviour therapy helped me, as does daily mindfulness. My bond with Roux is also a huge help. She gives my days structure and gets me out, whatever the weather.

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Living in Royston, a small village in Barnsley, means we are just a stone’s throw away from Rabbit Ings Country Park, located on the former colliery yard of Monkton Colliery and draft mine which closed in 1989. It is now home to myriad footpaths and cycle paths with large areas of trees and shrubs.

It offers a variety of walks. Turn left from the car park to make your way to a large pond, home to ducks and swans. Turn right to find acres of wetlands and woodlands. If you are lucky you might spot a deer in the distance or see a kestrel overhead. Or you could head straight to the top to find a bench for a place to stop and admire the vast views of Barnsley.

Whichever path we take, Roux is always leading the way and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This big little dog has snuffled her way into my heart and will always be the love of my life.

Tracey has been a visitor services assistant at Barnsley Museums for 10 years, working at the Cooper Gallery, Experience Barnsley, Cannon Hall Museum, Elsecar Heritage Centre and Worsbrough Mill. She is also a freelance arts writer (

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