Dog sitting in Worcestershire
Mr Travelling Coral aka Sleeve Notes and I are house and dog sitting. We are in Worcestershire looking after two adorable dogs, organised via Trusted Housesitters. Indeed this is the third time we have cared for Percy and Cecil. They are a joy to look after, easy going and ultra affectionate. Just having them around makes me happy.
A day out to Bridgnorth
Today we took them to Bridgnorth. There was a classic car and food festival on there. We like cars, we like food and our friends @illopetals also had a stall there on the craft market.
Cecil and Percy love being in the car with us. Indeed if we ever go out and leave them they act as if they are being deserted forever. And Percy, as much as he likes the car, won’t go anywhere until he is sure I am going too. He sits down, with his lead in his mouth, and refuses to move.
The streets were car free for the festival, and it seems everyone had brought their dogs to Bridgnorth today. A five minute stroll from carpark to town hall took 20 minutes as Percy and Cecil checked out the other canines out with their humans. And of course to sniff every lamp post.
After a meander around the town, and scoffing paella on the food market (try eating and walking with two dogs attached to you) we decided to go for a ride on the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway.
The funicular railway links the High Town to the Low Town and the River Severn and opened in July 1892. A return journey costs just £1.60. And dogs are welcome to travel.
After a short stroll along the river (the weather was very cold and wet, Autumn is racing in this year) we returned to the High Town via the funicular hoping to find a dog friendly cafe. And we did.
Dog friendly cafes
The dogs found it, as they spotted some canine playmates in the coffee. Their human urged us to come in stating that they were dog friendly. Giovanni’s not only make great coffee, sell locally made ice cream and serve up delicious looking crepes. If only I hadn’t been so full from the street food paella….
They also gave us homemade dog biscuits. How good is that?
The rain had stopped so we ventured back out to explore some more. Met The Tin Man.
Bridgnorth is a lovely market town, with some fine buildings.
Dogs, cafes and the law
I noticed a a number of shops in Bridgnorth had dog friendly signs in their windows too although a fair few had the dogs not allowed sign – bizarrely a hardware type shop that did not serve food, so it is clearly not about dogs and food hygiene that is the issue.
You may have heard of a marathon runner and charity fundraiser Dave Heeley aka Blind Dave. I have had the privilege to work with him in the past and he has some great stories to tell including one about the time he was a forklift driver… anyway he has been refused entrance to dining establishments because he had his guide dog with him. Taxi drivers have also refused to take him – I was a witness in that court case – and this is a man who is blind and relies on a guide dog. It is illegal for businesses to refuse his dog, yet they still do. Many companies and their staff are unaware of the law about the access rights of a person with an assistance dog. They are also incorrect when they claim that (non assistance) dogs are not allowed in a cafe.
If a guide dog is allowed in a cafe, why not any other dog? Of course the owner needs to have the right to refuse a dog that is disruptive. And maybe limit the number of dogs on the premises. I totally get it that some customers could be uncomfortable with lots of dogs in a cafe, especially if they are wet and smelly. There needs to be some discretion, of course. And a responsible dog owner would not take a wet, smelly or snappy dog into a cafe.
It is not as many will say, illegal. Even in cafes. It is only food preparation areas that are out of bounds, not areas where food is served and sold.
Is it time for more businesses to be dog friendly?
As dog sitters, we actively seek out places to take the dogs to increase their socialisation. We like to explore where we are house sitting and don’t want to leave the dogs alone for long periods.
What we have noticed in the UK is that we find more dog friendly places in the countryside than in the city. All three local pubs we have visited allow dogs in the bar, where they also serve food. The local cafe has water bowls outside and dog treats. Tappeto Lounge in Kidderminster welcomes canine friends. Having checked out their website I am not sure that all Lounges share this dog welcome policy so I have tweeted them for clarification.
My local pub does not allow (non assistance) dogs on the premises, not even in the garden. As it is situated adjacent to a park frequented by dogs and their humans and is called The Dog, I find this odd. Only one cafe on my local high street in Bearwood welcomes dogs. The supermarket doesn’t but my butcher does.
What do you think? Would you like to see more dog friendly cafes and pubs? And if you have a dog, which is the most dog friendly town you have visited? Are there any dog friendly places you can recommend?