Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Barking Blondes – Be Dog Friendly

Joanne Good and Anna Webb
Dog Friendly9 1024x718 The Barking Blondes   Be Dog FriendlyHow frustrating was it this week, when, while on a shopping spree with our British bulldog, we were asked to “take the dog outside”.
No, this wasn’t a restaurant or a supermarket but a camping shop selling merchandise suited to outdoor activities. Obviously this chain of stores hasn’t realised the value of the hound pound and the saying, ‘Cutting off your nose’ springs to mind.
So we welcome The Kennel Club’s new campaign “Be Dog Friendly” encouraging all businesses to welcome dogs.
We like to take our bull breeds with us wherever we go, whether on holiday or just for a quick blast of retail therapy so we definitely give this the thumbs up. And savvy enterprises should sign up!
Look at the  research behind this initiative . The staggering fact is that 71 per cent of dog owners actually don’t go on holiday, opting for a ‘staycation’ because often its just too complicated to take fido with us. Those of us that do venture away, leaving our beloved pooch in kennels, suffer such guilt and worry that 32 per cent claim never want to leave them behind again. The study also revealed that 80 per cent of dog owners won’t go abroad at all, preferring to holiday in a motor home or camping – just to be with their dog for a well earned summer break.
There are over eight million dogs in Britain, and these statistics suggest that hoteliers are missing a trick. The value of the hound pound has boomed despite the recent economic downturn. So why then is it that many establishments are so dog hostile? With about five million dog owners in Britain, this equates to a significant potential revenue for businesses.
Dog ownership is now at its highest proving we are choosing dog companionship and looking for opportunities to keep them by their side. It’s also important for dogs too to be with people and live their lives to the full.
In France or Germany dogs are welcomed almost everywhere. When we took our two girls for a long weekend to Paris, oh what a joy it was to amble into a ‘café au coin’ together and not be subjected to the usual doggy interrogations. Even the motorway service stations allow dogs into the main restaurants areas – we were gobsmacked and relieved as the soaring temperatures meant leaving them unattended in the car was out of the question. Their forward thinking approach is something we Brits could learn from.
We take on board concerns from people who may  be allergic or fearful of dogs, or even worries that a dog might deface a place in seconds. We wax lyrical about the times a Sunday lunch in a choice gastro pub has been disturbed by a screaming toddler. It’s something that we dread.
What we find is that dogs actually enhance the vibe anywhere you go. Its proven that simply having a dog in a room lowers peoples’ blood pressure, makes you smile, and gets people talking. What bad about that?
If your pooch is well behaved and isn’t a nuisance, what’s the problem? Just remember: “Be Dog Friendly”! And tell us of some of the establishments you and your mutt frequent.
Barking Blondes by Jo Good & Anna Webb, published by Hamlyn, £

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