Matthew Panter chats with a traveller and photographer who shares all his adventures with his beloved dog.
Sometimes you just can’t help standing to admire the surroundings. Green valleys, meandering streams, snow-capped peaks, a clear, blue sky or a night under the stars.Such beautiful moments in time make you appreciate the world around you and there’s nothing better than sharing them with someone. For Daniel Enmarch, that someone for many years has been his beloved German Shepherd dog Zeus. It was a relationship which flourished from day one – meeting in 2014 – and the pair have been inseparable since, their relationship perfectly summing up the idea of ‘one man and his dog’ and ‘a man’s best friend’. What’s more, their inspiring adventures and scenic travels across the UK and beyond have won the hearts of many people too – with over 48,000 people following their journeys on Instagram. “He’s my best friend,” said Daniel. “I got him a little while after I got back off a tour of Afghanistan in 2014. I was serving in the Territorial Army, as part of the Royal Logistics Corps.“I suffered with anxiety when I returned. It took its toll on my mental health – you go from having the daily routine to just coming home. It was very quiet.
“I really felt the need to find a friend and that support came in the form of Zeus. I got him as a puppy and he became my best mate.
“My military background had also given me a lot of love for hiking and being in the outdoors, so set a precedent for what was to follow.”
Daniel and Zeus started to embark on journeys around the UK and interest in the pair and their adventures grew through social media.“Our adventures started when he was one-and-a-half and I got my first camera,” says Daniel. “I remember our first adventure was Halloween and we went up to the top of Snowdon. “We ascended all the way up and it was cloudy. When we got to the summit, the cloud just started to clear. We sat at the top of the mountain and watched this beautiful sight. I did some photography and it snowballed. “We started doing mountain hikes and ticking places off, going to Scotland, The Lake District, Cornwall and The Peak District.”A real highlight was a trip to Germany for Christmas Day in 2018. “It was our first time getting a doggy passport,” Daniel recalls. “I had to get him all prepped to travel abroad. “I hired a van and, with two friends, Ben Malone and Rich Cheetham drove to Germany. We spent three or four days exploring all around Germany and Austria. “On Christmas Day, we got snow and we headed to the foot of the largest mountain in Germany, Zugspitze. We enjoyed a brilliant morning there, and went to the top of the mountain in a cable car. “Everywhere we went, Zeus went and it was a great feeling. Not many people get to share such an experience with their dog, especially one of Zeus’ size. “As a German Shepherd, going to Germany, he really excelled in the environment. It was a unique experience and an incredible photography trip too. Everytime we pulled up somewhere, he pressed at the door, waiting to get out. “He would run out of the van and you could see him sit and look at the mountains, smelling his surroundings. When he’s in his element and enjoying life, he rolls his head on the grass and you could see how happy he was in Germany, ploughing through the snow! People loved seeing him.” Two other moments stand out for Daniel. “My favourite image of us ever, was one my partner Skye (Williams) took of us in 2021 stood on our favourite mountain range Snowdon.“I called the image the mountaineers. It captures the best of us – exactly what we are about and what we do in one image.“We are looking out onto the horizon and thinking ‘What’s next? What’s over there?’ “When we are hiking, I often think ‘I know how I’m feeling but what about Zeus?’ Is he basking in the glory of it all?’”“I also remember at Clee Hill, taking a picture of the Comet Neowise. Zeus and I have loved night time adventures and being under the stars. Astro photography is a big love of mine and it as amazing to share this great event, seeing the Comet Neowise, with Zeus in Shropshire.” Daniel hopes that his years of travelling with Zeus have inspired many dog walkers across the county and beyond.
“Everyone loves Zeus and we are a really good team,” he says. “We have a unique bond. I spend every day with him and dedicate all my time to him and creating this relationship.
“The places we go, the things we have done and the images we share have reached a large audience. We started to go viral and there are a lot of people who are very aware of Zeus. “He’s a good looking dog and combine that with the locations we go and the times – at sunrise or sunset – and you get a really beautiful image or story. I think it’s inspired a lot of dog owners and also inspired a lot of people to get a dog.” Sadly, right now, Daniel, partner Skye and Zeus are faced with a different journey.Zeus was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, a rare disease which attacks the nerves and stops the muscles from being able to function.A dog so used to the great outdoors, he suddenly lost all ability to move and hold his head up as a result of being gripped by the disease. Devastated Daniel thought he was losing his best friend but, having been diagnosed, vets were able to provide Zeus with medication which has helped him to an extent. And the hope is that, one day, things will look up for them again.“It’s the maddest disease I have ever known but he’s doing alright,” said Daniel.“He can walk around and move around a bit and show signs of improvement of late, doing things he couldn’t before.”
“I keep the hope that one day he can make a full recovery,” says Daniel. “We have started the long process of setting up life so Zeus can be comfortable and maybe one day a dog that can do the things he loved so much.
“It’s a slow, long process, but we have our fingers crossed.“I’d hope by spring time, to be able to post a video of him being able to do some of the things he used to do, even a gentle walk.” Before Zeus’ diagnosis, Daniel had introduced him to a new puppy, Thor, in the hope the trio could have many more adventures together. And he maintains that dream is still alive.“Thor has changed his tempo since arriving and lies with Zeus and comforts him,” adds Daniel. “He gets something is wrong. They have a relationship which is flourishing. One day I hope to see them running around a field playing.”