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On a recent visit to The Lake District I was in Ambleside, where my dogs, husband and I often base ourselves. We don't visit as often as we would like to and always leave wanting more. The town is at the heart of the Lakes for many walkers and, largely Victorian in style, it is an attractive place with shops, hotels and restaurants; one of the best town bases for exploring this beautiful area. Ambleside has always attracted visitors with dogs, whether preparing for or returning from a walk, or simply strolling around and making the most of the scenery and local dog friendly Rothay Park.
We were particularly struck, on this occasion, by how “dog friendly” the town had become since our last visit which was not that long ago, and by how many local businesses displayed signs to this effect. Many of us who have dogs often cannot understand why they are not welcomed in more places, as they noticeably are in France for example and often in Italy.
And there are times when they have to be left at home, in the car (never a good idea) or tied up outside a premises (again, with the problems that could present).
The Disability Discrimination Act means that guide dogs are now accepted in most public places, including shops and restaurants, would it not be good if more of them accepted our pets too? After all a dog is a dog, whether it is a guide dog or not...and providing the dog is under control and the business owner is happy then it should not be a problem. Some staff may dislike or fear dogs, or even be allergic to them. Insurance cover may be required by the business owner to cover pets on the premises. But, many public places, from shops and restaurants to pubs and hotels, have found that their business improves and that their customers have a better experience when dogs are allowed into their premises.
Dog owners also know how well dogs can keep us in shape, both physically and mentally, and how they encourage social interaction – I do not often stop to talk with strangers unless my dogs initiate it! Dogs are a talking point, they get employees socialising and interacting with the public and have been proven to boost moral and improve immune systems. In fact they are so good for our physical and psychological well-being that they should be more widely promoted.
In the USA, Dr. Karen M. Allen, a research scientist at the State University of New York in Buffalo, studied two groups of stockbrokers. Both groups were taking medication for high blood pressure, but only one group had pets. She found that the stockbrokers who owned pets experienced half the increase in blood pressure caused by imposed stressful situations as those who did not own pets. (1)
In a recent survey conducted by the animal charity The Blue Cross, over 90% of the UK businesses who do allow dogs at work have noticed a positive change in the working environment, with a noticeable reduction in absenteeism and improved staff morale.
For further information
and advice on pet-friendly workplaces visit the Blue Cross Website: www.bluecross.org.uk
What some of Ambleside's
Old Courthouse Gallery, Market Place
The Attic, The Slack.
The Climbers Shop, Compston Corner.
Head to the Hills, Compston Road.
Daisy's Cafe, Central Buildings
Windermere Lake Cruises Ltd welcome all well behaved dogs, they can travel on all our scheduled services free of charge.
Lakes Climber, 3/4 Cheapside.
Bilbo's Cafe (located above Lakes Climber)
Ambleside Toy Shop, Compston Road
Silver Moon, North Road
Chesters by the River, Skelwith Bridge
Gates Travel, Market Place.
The Epicentre, Compston Road.
Mountain Warehouse, Rothay Road
Fred Holdworth's Bookshop, Central Buildings
Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre
Cunningham's Ambleside, Rydal Road.
Ambleside Tourist Information Centre, Post Office and Gift Shop, right in the centre of the town and dog friendly.
The Lake District Walker, Kelsick Road.
3 Swiss Villas, Vicarage Road
The Old Vicarage, Vicarage Road
Brathay Lodge, Rothay Road
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