Monday, January 18, 2016

Dogs in London

I get a lot of comments and questions when we have Sir Oliver out and about in London. Oh right, in case you do not know {hello! he is like our son!} #siroliveruk is my 4 1/2 year old Australian Shepherd. Our dog gets pretty out and about in the city and last night when we were on the tube with him and the girl next to him commented "If I was a dog I would totally want you as parents. Posh dog, lucky guy." haha. The comment totally made me laugh. It got me to thinking how often we have people comment that it is great how many places we can take him, how we do bring him everywhere, how often people email me and ask me about moving their dogs to the UK. I thought a little blog post about having a dog in the London would be a fun thing to share and hopefully a bit of advice for some of you. Moving Sir Oliver to London is still one of my highest viewed posts. So here goes, a little London dog owner advice: 
So Many Parks 
The nice thing about living in London is that there are SO many amazing parks. From our neighborhood Clissold Park & Highbury Fields to the gorgeous Richmond Park, the beautiful city parks like Hyde Park and Kensington Park or our favorite Hampstead Heath . Having a dog here is amazing if you are looking for a spot for a nice long walk, there are so many options! A few bits of advice, double check that the park allows dogs. It is very rare that a park does not, however, there are private parks in London and they often do not allow dogs. All parks will have a sign upon entry that is marked with either a dog on leash sign {sorry no running around doggies}, a sign to just mind your dog and behave or a big red circle with a cross through that means, nope, not allowed. There are fines involved, so just make sure to check out the sign before you let your dog go chasing after the ball, or the birds. You can find all info here for dogs in the Royal Parks. We tend to go to Hyde Park if we want to grab lunch at Serpentine bar & kitchen  but I always get a bit nervous of Oliver running around the swans in the ponds or I don't know, jumping into the fountains near Kensington Palace. If Sir O needs a really big run around, I would highly recommend Hampstead Heath where they can run for hours and there are so many dogs of the same energy level! 
Is that a dog in the pub? 

Yes! We bring Oliver to most pubs near us and most pubs are absolutely fine with it. Always, always ask before you let your little furry friend wander in and take a seat at the bar, but usually most pubs are OK with dogs sitting with you in the bar area. The amount of attention they can get is pretty cute also, a bowl of water from the bartender, a pocket full of treats from the little man who has had a few pints in the afternoon, you never know who you will meet when you bring your dog in a pub. Most people love them and have a hundred questions to ask; what type of dog is he, how old, does he go to pubs a lot? 
Dogs on Public Transportation 

Oliver goes on the underground, the overground, the bus, the train, the boat, this guy is a world traveller! The tube does allow dogs, it is really great! There are a few rules to bringing Oliver on however, but nothing huge. Living in London without a car, it is great that he can travel with us around the city! 
1. Dogs are requested to be carried on the escalators for safety reasons. 
2. Dogs must be kept on the leash. 
Those are really the only rules. I always advise people to travel outside of high peak hours if you are bring your dog, because you can barely squeeze yourself on the 8:45am train to work, yet try and squeeze little Otto on with you. Also, I know I can not carry Oliver on the escalator, he is just too big now. Our station has stairs which is a great option because we can walk down, but check the station to see if it is only escalator access and see if someone can come with you and help. When Mr.Beau is carrying Oliver up the escalator, I seriously LOVE watching peoples face that are coming down and see Oli, it is so cute! 

How about bringing dogs on the bus? 

Yep! Allowed. So we have only had one incident since living here with bus drivers and Oliver. Yes, dogs are allowed on the bus, however, all drivers do have the right to deny dogs access to the bus if they feel that a dog is upset, angry, or the bus is too full. It truly doesn't happen a lot, but just in case, always be ready for that. You will make a friend, I promise, if you bring your dog on the bus. The amount of little kids who want to "stroke" Oliver {for those Americans, they can pet him} when they see him on the bus is adorable. 
We work. How does Sir Oliver stay home all day? 

Since my husband and I both have busy jobs that do not keep us home all day, with an active breed dog like Oliver, how does he get out during the day? Dog walkers! We have had a few since moving here and they are the bestest thing ever. After a lot of research I found Islington Dogs while browsing around Twitter. At the beginning of the week I text Anna what days and times Oli needs a walk and that's it. Easy! He is always tired out after a good hour run around with other little guys as well. I have heard great things about this company Borrow My Doggy and are thinking of signing up for weekends when I have events. Meet people in the park near you and ask who they use, it is all about finding someone you trust and if your neighbors who you see every day love them, you might also. 
Do you bring Sir Oliver shopping? 

No. I draw the line somewhere. He can come into some cafes but I do not bring him wandering around Selfridges. I see little dogs once and awhile, but no, I love my Oli, but there is a place for them and its not in the fancy department store. Small independent stores, they may be OK without, but Whole Foods, ummmmm, probably not. 

Find any fund dog spots, let us know! 

xoxo - Rebecca

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