The demand for dog friendly venues and businesses is at an all-time high, with a record breaking 14,685 votes cast in this year’s Be Dog Friendly Awards, a campaign run by the Kennel Club to encourage businesses to open their doors to man’s best friend.
The Scottish town of Kelso was named the most dog friendly town after receiving a staggering 62% of the public votes for the Town/City category. The market town in the Scottish Borders takes the crown from Cumbrian town Keswick, which had won the award the last three years.
Councillor David Paterson, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Environmental Services, said: “Congratulations to the people and businesses of Kelso for becoming a dog friendly town. Being dog friendly has a number of benefits to businesses and we hope other communities in the Scottish Borders will follow the lead of Kelso.
“Like the Kennel Club, the council recognises the importance of responsible dog ownership, and earlier this year launched a new strategy which aims to engage with communities and volunteers, through projects such as our Green Dog Walker Scheme.”
The winners of each category were as follows:
- Beach: Bamburgh, Northumberland
- Café/Restaurant: Doggie Diner, Sunderland
- Camping/Caravanning: Blue Hills, St Agnes, Cornwall
- Days Out: Amberley Museum, Amberley, Sussex
- Great Outdoors: South West Coast Path
- High Street: Austin & Co, Great Malvern, Worcestershire
- Hotel/Place to Stay: Widgets Farm, Standerwick, Somerset
- Large Organisation: Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
- Pub: The Mill, Salisbury
- Town: Kelso, Scotland
Large Organisation winner Eurotunnel Le Shuttle have been chosen by the public as the best in their category for the past five years, for providing a great service to dog owners. Sophie Galvin, who collected the award on behalf of the travel service said: “We are truly honoured to receive a Be Dog Friendly Award for best Large Organisation. This is the fifth consecutive year we have won this award and we are so proud to have won again. At Eurotunnel Le Shuttle we believe pets are part of the family and deserve a holiday too. A big thank you to everyone for voting and always supporting us in all we do!”
Research carried out by the Kennel Club has found that there are many benefits to businesses being dog friendly, including an improvement to overall atmosphere of a place – 96% of people surveyed noticed a better ambience when dogs were around, with a boost in staff productivity and morale; 90% of employers observed a positive change in the working environment after allowing dogs; and four out of five companies cited a newly introduced dog friendly policy as a reason for improved business.
One company that has noticed such an improvement in business is camping spot Blue Hills Touring Park which won the Camping/Caravanning category for the second year in a row. Ginny and Martin Brant, who run Blue Hills, found a notable increase in bookings from guests with dogs after winning the award last year and their ‘doggy donations’ for a local charity went up by a third. The camping park has also recently been shortlisted for the local Chamber of Commerce’s Best New Idea Award for their new initiative ‘Harley’s Field’ – a dog walk and play area.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “This year’s Be Dog Friendly Awards have received the most votes yet, which just goes to show how much it means to dog owners to have places that they can visit with their faithful companions.
“Huge congratulations to each of the winners and thank you to everyone nominated for going the extra mile for dogs. The winners of these awards are determined by the public and all of this year’s winners are perfect examples of how businesses and public places can reap the benefits of being dog friendly.”
The winners of the Be Dog Friendly Awards were presented with their awards at the Kennel Club in London on Thursday 27th October.
The awards are supported by DogFriendly, the UK’s biggest database of dog friendly businesses. To find out more about dog friendly organisations visit www.dogfriendly.co.uk.