Daisy and I moved to Ludlow in October 2017 from Kenya, quite a shock to the system for both us, not least with the ensuing winter!
Daisy was brought up in Kenya where she roamed free, never wore a lead, and had no idea about manners and the etiquette required when greeting other dogs on leads. Over the past few months we have thoroughly relished the dog-friendliness of Ludlow, the welcomes from everybody we meet and the very welcome water bowls distributed throughout the town outside shops and pubs.
Early on, in our Ludlow initiation experience, we went into the shoe shop, Robin ELT, I asked if it was OK to bring Daisy in, and was told, "as long as it is OK to give her a treat!" Shopping for smart occasion clothes was made very easy with the girls of Eclectica happily entertaining Daisy while I tried things on! Some of the retail chains also welcome dogs, though less likely to have treats, although Orvis does; and Daisy is personally responsible for some of my purchases there!
It's truly a dog's life
Christmas was approaching and I urgently needed to get cards and kept meaning to go into St Laurence's Church but thought probably best when not accompanied by Daisy – which never seemed to happen. One day while passing I popped in, and enquired if it was OK to bring in a dog. I was met with yet another enthusiastic yes, lots of patting and greeting followed by a biscuit from a huge jar in the church. I was assured she would be welcome any time and someone would gladly hold her if I wanted to take Communion.
Now Daisy has found her bearings, to a degree; she knows very well where the best greetings (read: including a treat) are to be found. It is virtually impossible to walk past the fabulous sandwich shop, Vaughans, as Daisy knows she will certainly get something delicious there, and a fuss. It is hard to hold her as she tries to dive in when walking by. Taste at No.1 also has a treats' jar by the door which makes meeting friends for a coffee much more enjoyable and relaxing.
Friends from London visited recently and really couldn’t believe, one: the number of dogs visiting and living in Ludlow and two; how welcome they really are. Lots of ‘dog’ chats are held between the owners and the canines, comparisons made and laughter about our precious pooches.
Navigating a trail of treats
Markets in the square are always very interesting for Daisy, all of that lovely stuff to smell. She is very well acquainted with the Silver Grill, the mobile van serving up delicious meals throughout the day. Unless I’m careful, Daisy will stand up on her back legs doing her best Meerkat impression – literally waving her front paws to say ‘hi’…and yes, is often rewarded with a little treat.
On Mondays and Fridays local company, Good Doggy Treats come to market offering handmade products and wheat-free treats. They can be seen here offering a personal and very friendly collar fitting!
I must add at this point, nobody ever hands out a treat without asking if it is OK to give one, if you have more self-control than I do about your pet’s diet don’t worry, the treats are not forced upon you.
The Blue Boar pub on Mill Street, like all the other pubs and most coffee shops and bistros around town, also put out water and the staff even ‘wait’ on the dogs. As in, someone regularly arrives from behind the bar with biscuits to hand out to assembled pooches.
There are a few shops that you cannot take your dog into, but if you make a mistake they are very polite. In general, they are the supermarkets, pharmacies and banks. Some restaurants don’t take dogs, I would say a general rule of thumb is the presence of a dog bowl out front.
Walking it off
There are fabulous walks from the centre of Ludlow. It is supremely easy to exercise your pooch, from just a quick jaunt around the castle – which is a lovely walk with super views, to the slightly longer and more energetic (but well worth it) Bread Walk along the river.
Maybe venture up the hill to gaze at the castle and Ludlow from Whitcliffe Common.
Despite these wonderful walks, Daisy has put on weight since her move here, (can’t imagine why!). We are now going to get out and research all the wonderful longer walks from Ludlow.
I’m not sure what comes over everyone in Ludlow, but there is a palpable atmosphere of dog love, I am often recognised just by the dog, and generally known as ‘Daisy’s Mum’.
Ludlow is very ‘town proud’, and quite rightly, there are masses of bins everywhere to put the ‘waste’ so do please ensure you bring suitable bags and pick up! As I’m told, the yoga position of a dog owner: do the dog down and pick up the brown!