LEEK is proving itself to be one of the most dog-friendly places in the country – with more than 60 businesses allowing pet pooches through their doors.
Lynn Haigh at Dougal’s Den, in Stanley Street, has compiled a leaflet entitled ‘Leek Paw Friendly Places’, which maps out shops and eateries within the town centre that allow canine companions in.
The move is hoped to boost the town’s community feel and improve trade by attracting people who might not wish to tie their pet up outside a shop or leave it at home.
Sharon Holloway works at Bibelot in Sheepmarket, which is one of the 61 dogfriendly businesses listed in the guide.
She said: “I have not seen any such guide in any other place.
“I have seen guides about which beaches in Wales are dog-friendly, but not seen one like this which tells you about the businesses and shops in a certain town.
“It just makes it easier for dog owners and it’s more practical.
“I also think it gives a nice community feel for the town."
Dog owner Lynette Webster, of Selbourne Road, Leek, said: “I do like taking my dogs shopping with me.
“My two King Charles Spaniels are part of the family, so the more we can do with them the better.
“I do know of some shops in Leek which allow dogs in, but I think the production of this dog-friendly guide is a really good idea.
“It will encourage people to stay in our town rather than go elsewhere to spend their money.”
Dog owner Pete Massera, aged 47, of Leek, said: “I think it’s really good.
“Before the flyer, I did know of some businesses which are dog-friendly, but now seeing it I am pleasantly surprised to see that there are so many.
“I’ve never seen any guide like this before – it’s yet another great initiative that has been set up in Leek.”
Lynn Haigh, who has run her pet accessory shop in Leek for nine months, explained: “We are calling it a map, but it is more of a list of dog-friendly venues.
“We went round the shops and businesses in the main areas of the town centre and asked each business to tell us if they are dog-friendly.
“It is surprising really that more than 60 businesses in the town are ok with dogs going into their premises – some even have treats ready at the till for well behaved dogs.
“We also asked each business to give themselves a ‘paw rating’.”
The paw ratings set out in the guide are: one paw – water bowl and occasional treats provided outside premises only; two paws – well behaved dogs only; three paws – all kinds of dogs, except some barking; and four paws – all paws on the floor at all times.
Lynn said: “We are trying to promote that the town is quite dogfriendly.
“I honestly don’t know if any other town has such a dog-friendly guide.
“I know that there is a lot of national and regional websites with information on dog-friendly beaches and accommodation.
“We had been having lots of people coming in asking which shops and other businesses in town are dog friendly, so we thought we would come up with a useful guide.
“We have had a positive response to the map and we have also included a list of tips for dog owners who do take their dogs shopping with them.” Lynn launched the ‘Leek Paw Friendly Places’ guide on Sunday in conjunction with a new annual pet show she helped organise at The Foxlowe Arts Centre, at the top of Market Place, with Karen Landon of Churnet Valley Dog Training.
She said: “We had lots of dogs around the town on Sunday with the dog show happening and also with the Sunday Supplement event taking place, so it was good timing to launch the dog-friendly map.
“We are hoping that other towns start to do the same by producing a dog-friendly guide."
Dougal’s Den has paid for the initial printing of 2,000 ‘Leek Paw Friendly Places’ leaflets.
Lynn said: “We are talking to other shops about them possibly helping with the cost of additional printing.
“We are also hoping to get some ‘Dog Friendly’ stickers that can be put in the windows of those dogfriendly shops and businesses.” Dougal’s Den is working on getting www.dogfriendlyleek.co.uk up and running, which will contain a map of Leek pinpointing out which businesses and shops are dog friendly.
Lynn said: “With the leaflet, we only have space to list the names of the businesses along with their paw rating.
“With the website, we will be giving businesses the chance to add in more information about themselves.”