Thursday, 31 May 2012

Pet Friendly Devon with Kate Lawler


Welcome to the next instalment of our pet friendly travel feature with the lovely Kate Lawler and her two dogs, Baxter and Kevin. Over the next few issues we will be taking Kate, Baxter and Kevin on a tour of different pet friendly hotels and areas across the UK. This issue we travel to Devon!

Meet Kate…
I’m on a mission to find the best Dog Friendly accommodation in Great Britain. As the owner of two dogs, I’m on a mission to discover the best Pet Friendly Accommodation in Britain. My next review is for Kitley House Country Hotel in South Devon not far from Plymouth.

It’s a uniquely historic building set in a private rural estate on the banks of the River Yealm. We began our journey as usual from Birmingham so it was a pretty straightforward journey down the M5. To break up the 3 hour road trip we stopped off an hour outside of Yealmpton (where Kitley House is) at a lovely little seaside town called Dawlish. The beach was wonderful for the dogs. Kevin and Baxter stretched their legs for about an hour, having a splash in the sea and a sprint on the sand.

Kate, Baxter and Kevin

Upon arrival at Kitley House Hotel, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and you immediately notice just how peaceful and quiet it is. The views are breathtaking from every point outside the stunning country house. From the flowing river and the immaculately kept gardens, to sheep snoozing in wide open fields next door. I’m already impressed with just how much space there is for dogs here.

The interior of the country house is as you’d imagine. Very classic, traditional, perhaps in need of a lick of paint but on the whole, what you’d expect from a building that is over 500 years old.  What I’m suprised at the most is just how few rooms and suites there are, somehow I imagined there to be a lot more but I’ll always prefer a hotel with fewer guest rooms as it’s more relaxing so that was an added bonus.

As we make our way to ‘Reynolds Suite’ we pass a huge dining room where breakfast and evening meals are served.  An informal bar and lounge is just next door which leads out to a balcony terrace overlooking stunning gardens.  It is here where many people are enjoying ‘afternoon cream teas’ which look delicious!
We are just one floor up from reception which is extremely handy as we don’t have far to walk at all to take Baxter and Kevin out for toilet time. The view is what makes our room, it is simply stunning. We are overlooking the South Devon rural estate which is popular with walkers, bird lovers and dog owners. The room is spacious and comfortable. Bags of doggy biscuits for the boys were a nice suprise upon arrival as well as a couple of books dedicated to Dog Friendly Walks in the area. A nice touch.

Kitley House Hotel

The staff are extremely friendly and helpful, it goes without question. Once we’d unpacked and settled in our room, it was time to try out an ‘afternoon cream tea’. If you’re going to Kitley House, I’d highly recommend trying one.  I was in clotted cream heaven!  We decided to walk off the scones and jam by taking Baxter and Kevin on a sunshine stroll through the rural estate. It goes on for miles and because of the beautiful weather, we stayed out for a good hour. The boys loved sniffing the ground, chasing pheasants, rabbits, whatever they could!

The dogs were shattered when we got back to our room about 5pm so we freshened up with a shower and change of clothes then booked a taxi to take us to Plymouth which was just 10 minutes away by car. We ate in a gorgeous Thai restaurant and came home for an early night. The next morning we woke in time for breakfast, served in a very bright and airy dining room.  I opted for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on a toasted crumpet.  Incredible choice.  The full english breakfast my boyfriend, Adam, had was nice although he suggested Kitley House try finding a local farmer for ingredients for local thick cut sausages.

Around mid-morning we drove to Bovisand Bay with Baxter and Kevin. Luckily for us, the weather was amazing and it only took 15 minutes by car. We parked up and walked down to a small but very picturesque beach where people were sunbathing and walking their dogs. The boys met a little parson terrier named Buddy who was deaf but delightful. They played for ages and when we got back to Kitley House around lunch time we found a little sun trap in the garden, ordered some food and let Baxter and Kevin sleep in the shade. Our meals were delicious. Try the fish finger bap! Not your average fish finger bap. Divine.

A couple arrived that afternoon and were staying with their gorgeous Border Terrier Ruffie. She was one of the most beautiful Border Terriers I’ve ever seen. We drank Pimms and let the dogs play together until they were worn out and the sun went down. As it was Saturday evening, Adam and I went to Plymouth again as there are so many fantastic restaurants there. We ate at Zucca, an Italian which was lovely.  When we arrived back at Kitley House, we took Baxter and Kevin out to relieve themselves and sat in the bar downstairs with other guests of the hotel and their dogs.

There was a Murder Mystery Evening happening adjacent to the bar and lounge we were sat in. It sounded like great fun, very lively and entertaining.  Guests of the hotel are welcome to book at reception for the Murder Mystery which was attended mainly by guests who came to Kitley House specifically for the Murder Mystery night.  The evening also includes a 3-course meal. Baxter chose a brilliant moment to gate crash the room where around 100 people were eating and playing the game. As mortified as I was, my boyfriend Adam ran in after Baxter shouting ‘He didn’t kill anyone!’ which lightened the mood of a dog running under peoples tables and licking their legs!

We left the hotel on Sunday around 11am and I’m sure it won’t be the last time as it was definitely our favourite stay so far for K9 Magazine. Kitley House Hotel is an ideal base for exploring South West England, Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall during a short break or as a longer holiday. Make sure you go any time during Spring or Summer too as the weather really made it that much more enjoyable.

All in all a magnificent weekend! 

See you next time…..

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Greyhound Rescue Fife thanks Scruff MacDuff for the support

On behalf of Greyhound Rescue Fife I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you very much for your kind donation to our recent dog show, which raised an amazing £2432.00 . We had just under 200 people coming through the doors at one point or another throughout the show. While slightly down on last year a tremendous time was still had by all and we managed to re-home a couple of dogs as well.

This event has grown from strength to strength over the last few years however, it could not continue in this form it has without support from local organisations like yourselves. Your support has helped save many abandoned greyhounds lives and for that we are extremely grateful.

We thank you very much for your kind donation and hope that you will be able to help once again next year when we will be celebrating our 6th anniversary.

From all of us at GRF thank you.
Alex Morrison

Friday, 18 May 2012

Funny dog vids

Agile and skillful Geronimo from Long Island, New York

A duck that thinks it's a dog and plays fetch

Sammy, a dog outdone by window blinds

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A photographer, a ball, a pack of dogs and an underwater camera


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Scottish SPCA finds home for 'saddest dog' Scooby

A home has been found for a Staffordshire bull terrier dubbed Scotland's saddest dog.

Two-year-old Scooby has spent 15 months in kennels, longer than any other animal looked after by the Scottish SPCA.
Scooby has now found a home with new owners

Staff at the Aberdeenshire Rehoming and Rescue Centre feared he was so lonely his health was suffering.

More than 200 people got in touch, and David Prokipczyn, from West Lothian, was chosen to be Scooby's new owner.

A nationwide search for a home had been launched in April.

Centre manager Graeme Innes said: "We were completely overwhelmed by the response to our appeal.
"Scooby has spent half of his life in kennels, which is no way for a young, playful dog to live."

Scooby's new owner said: "My wife and I have been married 40 years and we've always owned dogs.

"It's only very recently that we've been without one and the house has felt so empty.

"When we read Scooby's story my wife was in tears.

"So we both agreed that we would love to offer him the good home he deserves."

Article and photo from BBC News.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Dog office humour

Enjoying the long bank holiday weekend, wish it could be longer? Though we can't help you with that, here's some office humour to put a smile back on your face! 

Photos from