Paul Henry’s daughter Bella Hopes: ‘How my dog became an Instagram star’

He wasn’t the pick of the litter, but Herman’s a model mutt now!
Bella Henry and dog Herman

As the daughter of famed broadcaster Paul Henry, Bella Hopes is no stranger to the camera, but the 27-year-old insists it’s her pooch Herman who’s the real star of the family!

The mini-fox pinscher boasts an impressive 15,000 fans who follow his every move on Instagram, and when he arrives at our Weekly photoshoot, he’s got his own personal bag packed with outfits.

“A lot of people would say I’m a crazy dog person, but he’s my child and I love him so much,” Bella gushes.

Herman first came into her life three years ago when she and fiancé Julyan Collett (30) went to help a friend pick up their new puppy.

“I went along and there was Herman, she recalls.

“He was very unwanted because he was one of the older puppies, so no-one picked him. But I fell for him and the next day he came home with us. I remember the first night – he just cried and cried, then pooped everywhere. In my head I was like, ‘What have I gotten myself into? This is the worst decision of my life!’ But that changed very fast.”

Early this year, Julyan moved across the ditch to work in Australia. While the distance has been tough, Herman has helped Bella through it.

“He’s made it a lot easier,” she says.

“I feel so bad for my partner. It’s the opposite for him – he’s had to move away from the dog. This year Herman had a little incident with his paw and had surgery. I was sharing a picture with Julyan of his paw and Julyan started crying – he couldn’t even look at the paw because it was making him so sad that he wasn’t there with him.”

As Bella and the adorable pup pose like pros with our photographer, it’s clear they’ve had plenty of practice as SPCA ambassadors.

Herman has been the star in campaigns for many of their projects, including their annual cupcake day, and now he’s putting

his name behind the charity’s latest event, the Great NZ Paws Walk.

“The whole idea is to get people out and exercising with their dogs, and also making it fun and raising money – we’re going to try to raise $150,000,” Bella explains.

“It’s really fun to get everyone together in person, and the atmosphere being there all together is just great,” she says of the event, which will be held in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Whakatane, Gisborne, Whanganui, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough and Christchurch.

When Bella was first approached about working with the SPCA, she couldn’t say no.

“It always feels so rewarding to work with them. I’ve been an animal lover since I was young – I’m the only animal lover in my family!”

Bella confesses that her dad is a big Herman fan, but you won’t see the pair cuddling up on the sofa anytime soon!

“He loves the idea of animals,” she shares.

“So he loves that Herman has an Instagram, but actually holding Herman is a different story. He’s set up a little photoshoot area in his house for Herman, and he’s got little props for him and he gets excited to do the photo.

“He doesn’t mind Herman being near us, but he wouldn’t want to have Herman on the couch or anything. When he comes over to my house, he says, ‘Get that dog off the couch!’ I just say, ‘No this is my house. If you have a problem, you can leave!'”

Her first pet was a hairless Chihuahua that Paul picked out because he thought it was funny. She admits it was an odd dog but it was with the family for eight years – and it wasn’t until she came across Herman that she decided to get another.

“My favourite thing about Herman is his personality. He is so cheeky and he’ll go from this crazy dog to cuddly and affectionate straight away. He has to be number one in the house – he’s definitely the king! But even though Herman’s demanding of attention, he gives love back and he’s probably the best thing that’s happened to me.”

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