This afternoon, I took Barney out for a walk over on Tunbridge Wells Common. I fancied a change from the Southborough Woods as they are so boggy at the moment and many of the paths are like a mud soup. Maggie, my middle one came too, on the promise of stopping by at Wellington Rocks and a hot chocolate afterwards somewhere near the Pantiles.
I must admit I was a little unsure of where we might go for a drink; I do like a bit of people watching and (obviously) dog spotting and the outside seating areas along the Pantiles are great for this but didn’t really fancy sitting outside in the cold. So I turned to Twitter and thanks to @twrumours @royaltunwells @oneillholly @laurentphotog and @vegpatchsaf for your suggestions and help on this matter.
As we headed through The Grove and down on to the High Street, we came across a pair of what looked like Bearded Collies. On speaking to the owner, it appears that Storm and Misty are Cyprus Poodles. That’s a new one on me. The story behind it is that these two were found in Greece on a rubbish tip with their 16 puppies! There’s a charity called Greek Animal Rescue that’s doing great work in trying the get abandoned and ill-treated dogs into new homes. The Greek financial situation hasn’t helped and has resulted in more abandonments. In this case, the dogs were rescued, found new homes via the website and transported back to the UK.
Heading up on to the Common and Wellington Rocks, it wasn’t long before the next dogs appeared. First there was Wheezy, a three year old Cocker Spaniel followed by Mickey a five month old English Springer Spaniel. I didn’t really intend to photograph lots of dogs this afternoon but it just happened. Come to think of it, it always happens like this – who am I kidding? I didn’t have my cameras with me, only the phone. It is a good camera phone and when I got it, this was one of the the must haves as far as incorporated gadgets go, but it’s not the same as using the proper gear, but it will do for a back up. I think Barney enjoyed having a run around with these two. Poor old Wheezy had to stay on the lead as she apparently does a runner when she gets the chance and Mickey was very generous in sharing his ball – that wouldn’t happen with Barney.
So after a good run about, it was down to the Pantiles where we first walked to the end checking out the possibilties for a coffee and a hot chocolate, indoors in the warm. That’s when we came across little Bert the Daschund in his dog wheelchair. Poor Bert had had two operations for a slipped disc and was using the walking aid in place of his back legs. The owner very kindly let me take a picture of him and let me know that he was doing very well and they were hopeful that he would make enough progress to walk unaided again soon.
Walking back down the other end, we met Poppy the Pomeranian and Noodles the Poodle. Both parties had been sitting outside with their drinks but after a quick chat and a picture, Maggie and I heading into Blends Coffee Company once we had checked that they were cool with Barney coming in too.
We weren’t the only ones with a dog in Blends with a dog as another family had Belle the Dalmatian in tow. Here is the the old girl after I nabbed them on their way out.
For me, as a dog lover, I like to find places that are happy to accommodate both me and my dog when we’re out. I appreciate that not everyone likes dogs or wants them around in eating establishments and that there is often seating outside giving you that option. I heard an interesting program on Radio 4 this week ( I think it was You and Yours) where they were speaking to cafe owners in Keswick in the Lake District, which is appparently the most dog friendly town in the UK. Because there are so many walkers and holidaymakers with dogs in this part of the country, if you say ‘no’ to dogs coming into your cafe/pub etc then you’re shooting yourself in the foot as plenty of others would be happy to oblige and help you spend your cash. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
As we walked back from the Pantiles, the last dog we saw was not so lucky. To his credit, he was being extremely well-behaved and sat there very nicely. I hope his owners gave him a little titbit when they came out of Juliets in the High Street. I may be wrong and they may welcome dogs inside but as a punter walking past looking for a place to go with my dog in tow, I think I’d be walking straight past.
If anyone would like to suggest any dog friendly cafes/bars/pubs etc in the Tunbridge Wells area, feel free to leave a comment.
You can also find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (@thedogsnapper). I’ll be stepping up the blog posts in the New Year as I’ve let it go a bit recently. I don’t promise the one a day, every day, as in the first six months as before but I blame that on doing four days at Crufts and having ‘Dog Photo Burn Out’. It is a recognised medical condition but I’m fully recovered now and raring to go.
Happy New Year to you all.