Chris & Sandy

Have Mercy. The downtown fashion couple and their Shar Pei-American Bulldog

By The Get Leashed Doggy Style Team

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We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing many interesting pet owners and unique dog breeds, but this was a rare Get Leashed moment – a bilingual dog!

Chris and Sandy (who moved to Toronto from Mexico after marrying Chris), knew they wanted a dog for over a year before settling on the perfect breed for them. Mercy, a Shar Pei-American Bulldog mix, came into the couple’s life almost as fast as her namesake Lamborghini Murciélago moves.

Read on as Chris and Sandy let us in on their personal style, and share their rooftop access for some spectacular views.

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Please tell us about yourself, your profession, and what a typical work day is like:

Sandy: I’m a Mexican woman who moved to Toronto after getting married and who loves beauty, fashion, makeup, shoes and real Mexican food (hard to find in T.O). I am an office manager for a distributor of beauty products; we never have a dull moment at the office and are always busy. I love my job and I get great perks like trying every new beauty and makeup product that comes through.

Chris: I’m an Investment Manager for an international firm and have worked with the same business partner for 17 years now. Typically I’m up just after 5 am to go for a run to start the day. Before and after work Mercy gets her walks in. After work I will also work out at the gym a couple of days a week then come home and cook dinner.

Please tell us a bit about Mercy. How did she come into your life? Is there a story behind the name or particular breed?

We discussed the possibility of getting a dog for about a year, but we could never agree on a breed. One weekend we were just around the corner at Bar Buca for brunch and came across this Shar Pei-American Bulldog mix while flipping around on my phone and we both kind of liked it. We called up and drove about an hour north after brunch to go ‘take a look.’ Well that was it: all of a sudden we found ourselves driving home with a dog but with no supplies, no crate and totally unprepared. We were listening to music in the car and the song “Mercy” by Kanye West came on while a black Lamborghini Murciélago drove by and we thought Mercy would be a cool name.

How would you describe your personal style?

Sandy: Definitely a lot of black mixed in with neutrals and always heels! I always try to mix in a bit of sexy, a little edgy and even a little avant-garde.

I definitely have a great collection of shoes, heels and boots but with fashion it’s more about quality than quantity. Some of my favorite names to wear include Maison Margiela, Balmain, Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, Tom Ford and Saint Laurent.

Chris: I have two totally different styles – one for work and one for play. For work you never want to be the most colorful, flashiest suit in the room, but I make sure I look professional, sharp and a little fashion forward. You need to take care of the details like pocket squares, great tailoring and always having polished shoes.

Outside of work and on weekends I’m less polished, more casual but still fashion forward – I’ll still wear a dope outfit, but outside of work it’s paired with some cool sneakers (of which Sandy would say I have too many). We are blessed with great boutiques having appeared downtown in the last few years.

How would you describe the look and feel of your home?

Living downtown in a major metropolis like Toronto we see it always evolving, always changing and can feel the vibe of the city. Our loft is sleek, modern and sophisticated with great views of the city and the lake. It’s exactly the type of vibe you might expect downtown in the King West area of the city.

What does your ideal weekend look like?

Sandy: Lots of sun and warm weather and a weekend that includes a little morning exercise, then spending time with my family, Mercy, some great food, and discovering new things around the city.

Chris: I love to get outside and start off with a run along the waterfront with Mercy, maybe picking up some French pastries on the way back. I might head out to the St. Lawrence Market (or Kensington Market) for food and to find something inspirational to have for dinner and then find a patio for drinks and lunch. Later on we might get together with friends to cook and have great wines with dinner.

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What inspires you?

Sandy: My Mom, family, love, beauty in the world, and creative people.

Chris: Great design, from products to designers like the late Zaha Hadid and Toronto’s own Frank Gehry.

Great music. We always have music playing around the loft and it can get you up and going in the morning or instantly change the mood no matter what’s going on.

Finally, can you leave us with a funny story about Mercy?

The first couple of days after we brought Mercy home, we were not prepared to come home with a dog and initially stopped for some basics like dog food, bowls, leash etc…but we didn’t get a crate right away or have hallway gates. It was going to take a few days to have them shipped. We didn’t want Mercy to have the run of the house and have ‘accidents’ just anywhere, so we tried to put up a makeshift blockade to contain her to the entrance and hallway. We used an extra mattress and boxes when we left to go to work the first day, but she proved how feisty and tough she was, and when we came home we could not believe she had busted through our blockade. Over the next couple of days as we tried to make it stronger and more impenetrable, she just kept busting through them and looking at us with hilarious expressions like ‘that’s all you got?’  She’s definitely still very strong and determined.

Follow Chris and Sandy on Instagram for more shots of Mercy @hyland74 & @sandybracho