LAST CHANCE TO PUT THE UK’S MOST BONA FIDE DOG FRIENDLY PLACE TO HOLIDAY ON THE MAP
The race is on to find the UK’s most dog-friendly place to holiday at the Open for Dogs Awards 2011. And with six weeks to go before the deadline for nominations, there is still time for you to nominate the places you like to eat, drink, sleep, holiday, visit and work with your canine companions, as well as your favourite places on the high street, and care homes.
Thorney Lakes and Caravan Park in Somerset, winners of the Open for Dogs Awards ‘Somewhere to Holiday’ category in 2010, and a hot contender for the title this year, agree that being kind to their doggie customers creates a great atmosphere, as well as helping them to achieve good business results.
Anne and Richard England from Thorney Lakes said “We always make sure that our canine clientele are well catered for, and we’re thrilled that so many of our visitors think so too.”
And it is not just Thorney Lakes that is benefitting from welcoming dogs through their doors. With the current economic climate putting more and more pressure on struggling businesses, and with 22% of UK households owning a dog, hundreds of shops and services are starting to see the advantages of implementing a dog friendly policy.
Since the launch of the Open for Dogs 2011 competition in May, the Kennel Club has heard from dog owners who have been impressed by companies – including hotels, banks, coffee shops, office spaces, holiday cottages, visitor attractions and restaurants – that are pulling out all the stops to accommodate our four-legged friends.
To encourage more businesses to take part in this success, the Kennel Club is calling on workplaces and other public places to join its inaugural Open for Dogs Week this August and allow dogs into their premises, following complaints from MPs and Wimbledon stars about biased attitudes towards their dogs.
The Open for Dogs Week, which runs from 1st – 7th August, is also intended to help stressed out city workers who have been shown in a recent international study to suffer higher levels of anxiety, depression and mental problems than their rural based counterparts. Psychologists are urging firms to trial the dog friendly policy to see what a difference it can make.
Caroline Kisko, spokesperson for the Kennel Club, said: “We are delighted that more and more businesses are starting to offer first class facilities for dogs and their owners. There are more than 8 million dog owners in the UK, many of whom are holidaying at home instead of abroad in order to save money, and it is great that their dogs can now be included in their activities. Shops and services are also clearly reaping the rewards, both in terms of financial gain and a better all round atmosphere, so it’s a win-win situation.”
Customers of all businesses are encouraged to take this final chance to nominate those places that they think go the extra mile to accommodate our doggie friends, with innovative services or simply a bowl of clean water and the promise of a friendly smile. The categories are: Somewhere to SLEEP; Somewhere to DRINK; Somewhere to EAT; Somewhere to VISIT; Somewhere to WORK; Somewhere to HOLIDAY and Somewhere on the HIGH STREET, as well as a newly added category for CARE HOMES.
By nominating a business, customers will gain automatic entry into a free prize draw to win pairs of tickets to Discover Dogs (12-13th November, Earls Court, London) and a DogFriendly guide book. The first 500 people to nominate a business will also receive a free copy of DogFriendly’s Out and About magazine.
The winners of the competition will receive national recognition and be announced in September, when they will receive winners’ certificates and an engraved champion plaque, and all recommended venues will receive an Open for Dogs certificate and sticker.