.. well in short we did..
When we took over the café the previous owners had a strict “no dogs inside” rule and this just didn’t feel right. Asking valued customers, who had made a commitment of a faithful companion to sit outside in the cold or damp because they loved their dog, seemed, well a little cruel. There is quite a misconception in the UK that it is illegal for dogs to be allowed in restaurants and actually this isn’t the case, the choice of allowing dogs entry is entirely down to the owners. So we had a think..
Dogs are now more than ever a very present part of the family and as much as there have been customers who have badly behaved relations with them, we have never asked them to leave them outside. So we asked ourselves why would we then do this with their beloved dogs, who usually sit quietly under the table or chair waiting for a morsel to drop quietly watching the world go by. ( we have yet to see any human family members do this)
As for hygiene we did our research. The majority of dogs these days are inoculated for major diseases and parasites and those dogs who are taken out for the day with their families as opposed to be left alone in the car or at home after often amongst the most well considered and looked after. And as for the café - well we clear up behind everyone, making sure the place is clean and presentable for the next customer and clear of all debris. But here is the thing, with hygiene risks being minimal the positive effects of letting the well-behaved dog family in have been immeasurable. We see more people engaging with each other asking about the dogs, or people who don’t have dogs and are open minded about their presence, being inquisitive about the dog and their families alike. People in the main are receptive to the loveable four-legged canine friend and those not so keen have enough room to evade with respect, or for the poor few who have allergies, they can be far enough away to be out of harm’s way. And as for the dog loved family they are delighted that we try to make them as welcome as we do the children. For Children we have baby changing, kids menu, colouring etc. etc. and for dogs we have fresh water, dog treats, the all-important pooh bags and of course the obligatory scratch behind the ear (followed by a hand wash of course )
Of course as with humans there are exceptions to every rule and should Cujo show up we may have to ask them to consider the options of an outside seat, a few miles away...
So it was us! We let the dogs in! and it was a good decision and in doing so have made many happy! We are of course sorry if there are some who aren’t and we hope we cater enough to help make it a little better, but I have never caught a dog trying to “borrow” Cutlery or Beer glasses and in general they are always delighted with our service, they tend to bring happy owners with them and a waggy tail, which always makes you smile on even the busiest of days.