Pandemics come and go – we hope.
This year has been horrid, except for claustrophiles and anyone looking for a reason to stay home and read a lot of really long books. Oh, and our doggies, who have loved having us around so much. All that attention, the long walks and cuddles, not to forget trips to the supermarket for a juicy bone.
For pup-pup, currently staring at you with beseeching eyes, there’s nothing ruff about any of that. It’s all gravy (mmmmm, gravy).
Yes, winter will be here soon, and with it (who knows) maybe a re-run of a real-life movie we now know all too well. Covid II: The Pandemic Returns.
For now though, forget about all that. The sun is out (probably), the sky is blue (fingers crossed) and, with work or school a briefly fleeting memory, we hope you and your hound have nothing else to do but to head out on holiday.
Maybe you have a place close to your heart, which is big and pet-friendly and close to a beach where dogs are allowed to run free. In which case – lucky you!
But for everyone else who has been cooped up for months and is desperate to get away somewhere (anywhere!) Dudley & Co has some handy and helpful tips.
If your holiday is an open book, and the key is to keep Mr or Mrs Mutt happy, start with Pet’s Pyjamas (www.petspyjamas.com), a website that proclaims itself to be ‘dedicated to dog friendly travel’.
It lives up to its own billing. It was recently overhauled, and it’s a peach. It lists great dog-friendly hotels and cottages around the UK, not to mention the best British beaches to stretch four hairy legs on. (For the record, PP’s team likes Soar Mill beach in Devon, Camber Sands in East Sussex, and Cornwall’s Porthcurnick Beach.
It’s got some great deals on too – click straight to the ‘Barking Britain’ section.
Dog Friendly (www.dogfriendly.co.uk) is another solid source of advice for holiday bookings. What’s super-helpful is how the site works in a circular way, helping you click between pages that offer suggestions for places to stay and things to do.
So if you’ve booked a few nights avec chien in the rather fetching Cricketer’s Arms in the market town of Saffron Waldon and you’re keen to do something special for your pup that day, just scroll down a bit and – bang!
Just round the corner is the Canine Dip and Dive in Barkway, where a 32-foot swimming pool complete with floating ramp is the sole preserve of doggy paddlers. After that, why not head to the Wellies & Walkies Café in Buntingford for a bite to eat.
The great thing is how easy this process now is. You can find great places to stay via any number of holiday lettings agencies, be they national (such as Cheshire’s Sykes Holiday Cottages (www.sykescottages.co.uk) or super-local, like John Bray, based in the Cornish seaside village of Rock (www.johnbraycornishholidays.co.uk).
And if in doubt, there’s always Airbnb, which lets you know automatically if a place is pet-friendly or not, be it Shoreditch or the Isle of Skye - it’s right there on the listing.
Finally, if you’re keen to get out with your pup immediately if not sooner, and you want a bit of first-person advice from someone who’s been there and bought two scoops of the local dog-friendly ice cream, there’s a Website for you too. (There always is).
Head for A Pair of Passports (apairofpassports.com), run by Kelly and Sean, who love nothing more than donning a Barbour jacket and heading out to see Britain with Giorgio, their American expat pup.
Giorgio has been with them to sports events, and even spent a night in a Shepherds Hut on the South Downs. His favourite retreat is the Cotswolds, and you won’t be surprised to find that his favourite treat is ‘anything bacon flavoured’.
Go forth, all of your, two- and four-leggers alike and enjoy the summer sun.