Tell us about Dandie and what inspired you to open a dog friendly café
Buddy and I met each-other over 2 years ago. He was my first dog and to say I was over prepared is an understatement! I had done so much research and had many lengthy discussions with the breeder. What I wasn’t prepared for was how it would take a while for Buddy and I to understand each-other in our first year together. While we had an undeniable bond from the start, we had a difficult first six months and I didn’t have much of a support network in terms of other dog owners who I could chat to about it and seek advice from. What I craved at that time was a community. What I also craved as a single dog owner was somewhere both Buddy and I could go and have a great time with that community. A place where he didn’t need to be on his best behaviour while tucked under the table with a bowl of water. I needed somewhere I could go to on our way back from the park to wash him off before I got home. I needed a home away from home that just understood dogs, their owners and their needs. And that’s where the idea of the dog café stemmed from- a beautiful warm, non-judgemental, café serving both furry and human customers with a DIY dog wash, a dog menu and human menu, a bespoke retail collection and events you can participate in with your pup such as human and dog yoga!
Buddy is the inspiration when it comes to all things Dandie.
Tell us about Buddy and how he came into your life.
Buddy is a Portuguese Water Dog and he’ll be 3 in February. I was working at a homeless shelter when I decided I would like a partner in crime. So from 8 weeks old, Buddy was a therapy dog (unofficially) at Shelter from the Storm- supporting my homeless clients when they were at their lowest points and then helping me when I needed some emotional support. Since then, he’s joined me on every adventure and become the love of my life!
He’s a right bruiser who loves to play hard and sleep hard! His hobbies include swimming, swinging on tree branches, hiking and eating leftovers at the café! Buddy is highly intelligent with an excellent work ethic and shadows me whenever he can (no such thing as privacy in our home! )
How does having a dog fit into your general working day?
Buddy comes with me to the café and chills out in the mornings- he’s usually quite tired from our early alarm so he likes to nap once we arrive when he’s not being spoilt by the team and customers at Dandie. Then either myself or one of his human friends takes him for a lunch walk for a couple of hours. By the time he comes back to the café, he’s exhausted and will usually snuggle with me or a human while enjoying a chew. Then we’ll walk home together and he’ll have an early night.
When you’re not working where do you like to head out to with Buddy?
We love heading over to Epping Forest or Trent Park when we’re not at Hampstead Heath. When we’re able to take a longer break, Buddy loves going to the coast and I love seeing him so happy in the sea, so we’ll usually venture out to Hastings or Rye. We both love nature so anywhere off the beaten track and we’re happy!
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk, and what do you carry them in?
If we’re going on a long walk, we usually take water, his Dandie raincoat onesie, his Dandie doggie bathrobe, lots of homemade Dandie treats, poop bags and a bandage just in case! I either put it in my backpack or Buddy’s- every now and then Buddy wears a backpack for trekking. As a working dog, he likes having jobs like that to do!
What adventures do you have planned with Buddy for later this year?
In the next year, I plan on being able to take a few days away from the café- we’re only a couple months old so that’s not possible just yet. So I’d love to spend a few days away on the southern coast with Buddy just me and him. We are hoping that Buddy can have his 3rd birthday party at Dandie in February if Covid restrictions allow it- if they do, you’re all invited!