Orla Johannes , Montreal Radio & TV Personality
We love her sexy voice and sweet spirit. Learn how she over came her fear of dogs …..and meet Lulu !!
Where were you born and how long have you lived here?
I was born in Rainham, Kent in the South of England… Kent is known as the garden of England! Beautiful place….. I always had a fascination for radio and TV … if I was home from school sick I would listen all day to the radio whilst in bed and then call in to be on all the shows and that was when I was 7!! I got a radio/tape recorder when I was 7 and loved recording radio shows with me as host and then making my friends listen! LOL..
I flew into Montreal on Jan 8 1998, right in the middle of the ice storm … thinking I had boarded a plane to Alaska! I arrived at the hotel and was told to repack a bag in case we were moved to a refuge centre! I was speechless and very perplexed as I associated a refuge centre with war torn countries! I was given my room key with a complimentary candle! I proceeded down the chilly
hallway with my 2 suitcases and a duvet cover and went to sleep with my thermals underneath my clothes, a hat, scarf and gloves, watching my breath when I exhaled still feeling very perplexed!
Once I decided to follow my dream of becoming a TV & Radio Host I left the corporate world, went back to acting school, got an agent and started back into acting with small movie rolls. To support myself financially I was a hostess at Winnies and a waitress at McKibbins Irish Pub … After a year of pulling pints, seating punters and movie gigs I had landed a full time job with 940 news as traffic and weather reporter offered by then Program Director Jim Connell who said he was ploughing a lot of faith in me as my accent will either be a huge hit or totally the opposite! I admire Jim so much to this very day for having faith in me. Soon that position was followed with an offer to be Fashion reporter on Entertainment Spotlight with Mose Persico on CTV. I hung up my waitress’ apron and threw myself into the media industry which was where I wanted to be!
Determination, networking, being proactive, knocking on a lot of doors, sending demos and positive thinking got me exactly what I wanted, dreams do come true if u truly believe.
I love what I do, it is very important to enjoy your work.
Where do you live now and who lives with you?
My family life in Montreal consists of my husband, new born beautiful baby George and my gorgeous mischievous pure bred Labrador Lulu!
Did you have animals when you were young? What was your first experience with dogs or cats?
Growing up in England the only pets we had were goldfish! My first experience of dogs was when I was 2, our next door neighbors had British Bull Dogs, and the youngest was called Brit funnily enough! Brit and I became friends, the first pair of shoes that my mummy bought me I couldn’t wait to give them to Brit to show her! You can imagine the rest!
Unfortunately my relationship with dogs ended abruptly when I was 7 years old and my sister was 5 ½ years old when 2 huge German Shepherds jumped on us whilst out walking on a local beach on a Sunday with my Mum and Dad. The 2 dogs knocked us down and I remember my Dad just grabbing the 2 of us by our coat collars and pulling us out from under the 2 dogs to safety.
The dog owners had the cheek to tell my parents we should be on a lead when it clearly stated on the beach that all dogs must be on a lead. From that point on I was petrified of dogs.
Wow, that’s awful. Tell us about Lulu, how you came to get her, how she affects your life.
In 2008 and a newlywed, my husband really wanted a dog and I could feel the panic set in. He assured me that if we get a new born Labrador, which is an amazing dog with people and children, I would grow with the dog and everything would be okay. Well I still panicked to the very day we brought home the little bundle of fur that was size of my foot and yet I was scared stiff.
My husband said the dog would go every day to the office with him, only I’m still waiting for that day to come and Lulu is now 3! For the first three days we had Lulu at home I had no idea what to call her so day 1 I called her Lily, day 2 she was called Rosie and by day 3 the name Lulu seemed to suit her very well! An innocent fluffy ball of white fur her big brown eyes looking at me as if to say ‘you have to look after me I’m yours now’.
My fears disappeared and the love for Lulu grew and continues to grow every day. Lulu and I have spent every day together since we brought her home at 6 weeks old. We understand each other, I know all her mannerisms and it’s a joy to wake up and see her. The excitement and love I receive when I come home or see her first thing in the morning is a wonderful feeling. I am very susceptible to feeling extremely sad when I hear awful stories about abused animals, if I won the lottery I would help rescue abused animals and employ careers that could offer their time and love to care for them.
Lulu has a playful personality; she is amazing with other dogs, people and children. Lulu is very protective of me and I saw that that increased when I was pregnant, it was as if she sensed I needed extra care.
I often ask her if she is a monkey or a dog as she is always getting up to mischief, but I can never get angry with her because she is too cute!!
Lulu loves helping me to do the laundry although she doesn’t wait till the clothes are clean! She loves sticking head in the washing machine as I’m loading in all the clothes, routing through everything and pulling out all the socks! She thinks its hysterical running around the house with them. We now have a drawer full of odd socks and one day hope to match them all up! Lulu also loves stealing toilet rolls and running around with them while I’m trying to get them back which normally involves bribery and a treat!
In the summer time Lulu is the one who is in the swimming pool the most! She is like a little princess!! Its hysterical … Her favorite game is playing ball and she loves to be outside playing. My family and friends still cannot believe to see me with Lulu knowing my intense fear I used to have. Miracles do happen!
So many couples get a dog, and when they have their first child abandon them. I get the sense that Lulu will always be a part of George’s life?
Our beautiful baby boy George was born on November 15th 2012, we put Lulu into the doggy hotel for a week while I was in hospital and I did a lot of research into the best way to introduce a new born to your dog. My husband dropped off to the doggy hotel a blanket that had been wrapped around the baby so Lulu could get used to the scent.
Our next step was bringing home Lulu and just carrying on as normal making sure that she was given just as much love and attention, keeping to her exact routine. She has adapted well with no fuss, she doesn’t show any signs of jealousy and comes to me with a concerned look when George starts to make noise as if to say “Mama, George wants you, get up!”
For more info and photos about Orla’s world go to www.orlaj.com
TPK “In rescuing animals, I lost my mind , but found my soul.” ~anonymous